Five of the UK’s richest self-made entrepreneurs

Britain has a track record of producing successful entrepreneurs, but which ones are doing particularly well?

The UK has a history of business leadership with names like BP and HSBC ranking highly in the Forbes ‘World’s Biggest Businesses’ list.

It’s natural then that we also have a history of keen entrepreneurship and in this article we’ll look at five of the richest self-made people in the UK.

It’s always hard to pinpoint what the secret to successful entrepreneurialism is but a few attributes shine through which you might try to emulate as a budding exec.

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Audacity and a willingness to challenge conventional business practice are most apparent. If these people have an idea they implement it instead of procrastinating, but they also seem to understand that making money isn’t always about fancy accounts departments or business jargon, it’s simply about knowing what sells.

5. Alan Sugar (net worth £680 million)

Alan Sugar displays similar credentials, having started out selling electrical goods from a van before moving on to his famous stewardship of Amstrad. Sugar has a big public profile due to shows like The Apprentice, where he seems to want to cultivate an ethos of sharp, mathematical, ‘market trader’ minds. After all the basic market stall is a definite microcosm of the grander economic world.

4. John Caudwell (net worth £1.5 billion)

John Caudwell is owner of the Caudwell Group whose high street chain is the renowned Phones4U. He began by combining the knowledge he gained from a stint at Michelin with his own business acumen to sell motorcycle clothing, before he went on to take one of the first shipments of UK mobile phones.

Since selling that initial quota of 26 Motorola handsets, the Caudwell Group has become the biggest cell-phone retailer in Europe.

3. James Dyson (net worth £2.7 billion)

James Dyson had something of an epiphany in the form of the Dyson vacuum. He represents the classic vision of a ground-breaking idea taking off to meteoric levels and probably epitomises how most of us view an entrepreneur.

2. Richard Branson (net worth £2.8 billion)

Richard Branson is probably the most recognisable name on this list due to his relentless foraging for new ideas, his adventurous lifestyle, public persona, and innovative corporate strategies. Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Trains are amongst his concerns.

Branson initially setup a mail order record business which grew into Virgin Records, and he’s now worth around £2.8 billion.

1. Reuben Brothers (net worth £3.2 billion)

The Reuben Brothers (David and Simon) made much of their wealth in the buying and selling of liquid assets but now they’re primarily concerned with real estate, private equity and venture capital.  There fortune is said to be worth around £3.2 billion and they emerged onto the scene through scrap metal trading (David) and the carpet industry (Simon).

Entrepreneurs will always face questions of just how ‘self-made’ they might be. They all exist in the framework of a modern lucrative state and they all benefit from the collective capital of the world in which they inhabit, but the feat of actually accumulating those sums of money is self-evidently highly independent.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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