17 Self-Made Billionaires Who Came from the Most Humble of Beginnings

TIME

These 17 rags-to-riches stories remind us that through determination, grit, and a little bit of luck anyone can overcome their circumstances and achieve extraordinary success.

  1. Russian business tycoon and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich was born into poverty and orphaned at age two. Net worth: $8.2 billion

    Abramovich was born in southern Russia, into poverty. After being orphaned at age two, he was raised by an uncle and his family in a subarctic region of northern Russia.

    While a student at the Moscow Auto Transport Institute in 1987, he started a small company producing plastic toys, which helped him eventually found an oil business and make a name for himself within the oil industry. Later, as sole leader of the Sibneft company, he completed a merger that made it the fourth biggest oil company in the world. The company was sold to state-run gas titan Gazprom in 2005 for…

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