SUCCESS STORIES / SEP. 02, 2015
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5 Entrepreneurs Who Became Rich While Still in School

Hitting the rich list is on everyone’s list of dreams and with new entrepreneurial ventures being launched each day, some people are in with a serious chance of making the big time. While all successful startups are incredible news, there are a few which are really doing special things, making a name for their creators before they’ve even graduated.

See Also: How To Create And Build An Entrepreneur Network

Just because someone is young, it doesn’t mean that they cannot be enterprising. Over the years there have been a number of hugely successful entrepreneurs who made a fortune before they even finished their educational careers. Spotting gaps in the market and pushing innovative ideas seemed to come naturally to these people and, having already made enough money on which to live a very comfortable life, it’s anyone’s best guess what the future holds for them. One thing’s for certain, though: Whatever they do will change the way that we all live our lives.

1. Bill Gates

Of course, there’s few who have made it as big as Bill Gates. The mind behind the computing megalith, Microsoft, Gates has been in the digital game for almost as long as it’s been around, and has been responsible for some of the most incredible technological developments ever seen. Gates might just be the most famous college dropout in the world; despite his obvious brains and capability, he never completed his higher education course.

Spending two years studying at Harvard, he quickly left when his company, Microsoft, began to gain momentum in the digital world. While many initially questioned Gates’ move, his rapid success and ever-accumulating wealth soon put an end to any naysayers. Microsoft is now worth billions of dollars and Gates frequently tops the wealthiest people list in the world. 30 years after his initial departure from Harvard, however, Gates finally returned to the scene of the crime. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary degree from the University, despite never having returned to classes following his departure. Now, Microsoft rakes in profits of up to $46 billion a year; that’s pretty impressive for a school dropout.

2. Mark Zuckerberg

Since Gates set the example for Harvard undergraduates, there have been a number of similar cases of young entrepreneurs using their early educational experience in order to make their fortune. Most famously in recent years was Mark Zuckerberg who, after having been inspired during his college life to found Facebook, soon left to transform it into the multi-billion dollar company we all know today.

Initially a site for Harvard students only, ‘The Facebook’ - as it was originally called - enabled students to link to their classmates and probe the lives of those they wanted to get to know. Pretty soon, however, the concept really took off and it wasn’t long before it was transferred to other colleges around America. Now, Facebook is indicative of contemporary culture and it seems strange to consider that there was a time in which we weren’t communicating almost entirely online. Changing the way that younger generations approach friendship, status and communication, Facebook was a precursor to the time in which we live, and has made Zuckerberg his fortune.

3. Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak
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It seems that, where success goes, the digital industry is where it’s at. Electronics certainly helped Steve Wozniak make his fortune who, while a college student, founded an incredibly lucrative company. Studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at Berkeley, Wozniak met and befriended Steve Jobs, the man who would go on to found Apple. Initially, the pair teamed up to sell “blue boxes”, technically illegal devices which enabled students and users to make long distance calls without paying for them.

Following their initial success, Wozniak soon dropped out of college in order to pursue even bigger things with Jobs and it wasn’t long before the pair combined forces on the first ever Apple computer. Although Wozniak left his role at the company a few decades ago, his initial success really made his name in the technological industry and now, despite not finishing his school career, his net worth is said to be $45 million.

4. Madison Robinson

While decades past can show us the incredible early ventures of some of our best loved business minds, there is an equally large amount of impressive entrepreneurial activity going on right now, by people who haven’t even graduated from high school. Perhaps the most impressive one is the career and business of Madison Robinson. At 16 years old, she is one of the youngest entrepreneurs on the planet and with a business worth at $1.2 million, also one of the richest.

Robinson’s company, Fish Flops, came to her when she was just eight years old and ever since its inception, she has been working incredibly hard to produce what has now become a super brand. A brand of light up flip flops, Fish Flops have proved their worth and continue to be one of the most popular players in the children’s footwear market. Now sold in national department stores, the shoes are flying off the shelves and with an estimated 60,000 pairs already sold, the future only looks bright for Robinson.

5. Nick D’Aloisio

At the age of 19, Nick D’Aloisio is responsible for some of the most significant changes in the technological field and has proved to be one of the most pioneering minds in business at this moment in time. D’Aloisio, is the brains behind lucrative app Trimit, an iOS application that could pre-analyse text content and then condense it into sections of text which were 1,000, 500, or 140 characters long. To say that he has changed the way that many of us read, is underestimating the true effect of his business.

After making a significant sum from this venture, D’Aloisio then went on to create a second app, Summly, which improved upon his original business’ features. The new company proved to be so lucrative, that Yahoo bought it in 2013 to the tune of $30million. Of course, D’Aloisio is not stopping there. Despite continuing with his school education after his initial two businesses, he claimed to be in the process of starting another company, forever wanting to create something new.

See Also: Top Ten College Majors for Millionaires

For many entrepreneurs, making a splash in the business world is one of their biggest achievements. Years spent toiling over the same idea can be really grueling and when they finally see success, they feel as if all of their hard work has paid off. For others, however, it’s a much different story. One success does not mean you have made it and rather than resting on their laurels, these pioneering entrepreneurs are seriously changing business for the better. Despite having made a splash when they were very young, they proved that age is not a factor when it comes to innovation and now, they are some of the top power players in the business world. 

Your next big idea could spell great things on the horizon, and there has been no better time than now in which to follow your entrepreneurial dreams and make a splash in business. By following the example of these young entrepreneurs, you could find yourself on the major power player’s list in no time at all, constructing a new future for all of us.

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