Indra Nooyi did not grow up poor but she did come from a self-described "humble middle class" environment in India. Nooyi has risen from her humble beginnings to be voted the most powerful woman of the year in 2010 by Fortune Magazine.
She demonstrated her strong work ethic by working as a receptionist at night to find money to pay her college tuition. All of her effort paid off as she landed positions at top firms Johnson & Johnson and Motorola upon graduation. Nooyi is now the chief executive at PepsiCo earning more than £6 million last year.
The story of Zhang Xin is an inspiration to anyone anywhere. She grew up poor in China and worked in a factory for years until saving enough money to leave her homeland and attend college.
After graduating from college, her fortunes changed as she went to work for investment firm Goldman Sachs. She eventually branched out and started her own property development company known as SOHO. Her property management company became wildly successful giving Xin a net worth of £1.2 billion today. Not bad at all for a self-made woman.
Olivia Lum has worked since her early years in Malaysia when she got a job as a rubber tapper to help pay her adopted family's bills. Lum managed to work during her formative years while attending school at the same time.
She eventually rounded up £10,000 by selling her possessions to start a water treatment company called Hyflux. Lum's ambition made Hyflux a success and Lum a very wealthy woman. She is one of the 20 richest people in Singapore with a net worth of over £200 million.
The bottom line
As you can see from these examples, you do not have to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth to find success. These entrepreneurs were able to use their intellects and skills to reach the top of the business marketplace.