How This Former African Child Refugee Built A Business Empire Worth Over $100 Million Dollars By The Age Of 30
Challenging backgrounds and beginnings have kept billions of people living in fear and far away from their dreams. It ensures their mindsets and attitudes remain submissive to the security and comfort of a job—no matter how low the pay is—and causes them to tend to forcefully pass on this unfortunate stance to their kids.
While life difficulties are known to strongly mould and cement fearful and cautious values in billions of people, a few never let their backgrounds define them. They find ways to break out of the rat-race to come out as successful and laudable role models, no matter what they face.
This is the success story of Ashish Thakkar. An African who was first struck with the disappointment of becoming a refugee, but still pursued his dreams and eventually built a business worth over $100 million dollars by the age of 30.
Here’s how he did it:
The Early Life And Trials Of Ashish Thakkar
In 1972, Ashish Thakkar’s parents moved from Uganda to the United Kingdom because Idi Amin forced the expulsion of Africans of Asian origin from the country. Nine years after the gory event, Ashish Thakkar was born in the year 1981, in Leicester, The United Kingdom.
Believing it was safe to head back home, Ashish Thakkar and his parents returned to Africa to live, but instead moved to Rwanda, but were forced all over again to flee from the country because of the Rwandan genocide of the year 1994.
Ashish Thakkar, now 12 years old when his family fled to Burundi, was forced to settle in Uganda as a refugee.
This travail helped them to luckily get out of the country alive, but caused them to lose everything they had built between 1972 and 1993.
The Start And Growth Of The Mara Group
As a teenager living in Uganda, Ashish decided to try rebuilding his family’s lost fortune by venturing into entrepreneurship. By now he was already 15 years old when he set out on his first venture.
Ashish Thakkar sold his computer to a family friend for $100. Realizing this was a good deal, he bought another computer and sold it again and realised another profit.
His business acumen and prowess enabled his parents to allow him take a loan of $5,000, which he decided to use in the importation of floppy disks and computer products/accessories from Dubai through his now registered company, the Mara Group.
Ashish would travel to Dubai almost every weekend to purchase these items, bring them back to Uganda, and would sell them to the locals, since it was difficult to find them in the country at the time.
By now, Ashish realised he was on to something big, and then convinced his parents to allow him drop out of school, on the condition that if everything didn’t workout, he would return to continue his education.
At this point, he instead decided to travel to Dubai to setup his business there. By positioning himself at the centre of the trade, Ashish Thakkar started selling computer products and accessories to different companies in countries around the world.
His Business Today
Today, his company, the Mara Group, has grown exponentially, diversified, and has a wide range of investments in telecommunications, manufacturing, shopping malls, hotels, paper mills, conference centres, and large scale agriculture. His businesses are domiciled in over 20 countries and employs over 8000 people.
In 2013, Ashish co-founded a new business called Atlas Mara, whose focus is to invest and acquire financial services firms across Africa. To achieve this, Atlas Mara raised $325m via a share flotation in December of the same year.
Philanthropy And Achievements
Today, Ashish Thakkar is giving back to the African continent through entrepreneurial and philanthropic efforts. He runs the Mara foundation, whose goals are to help the next generation of African entrepreneurs with support to start their own businesses.
The foundation was launched in 2009, and first operated in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. Since its inception, it has mentored over 160,000 African entrepreneurs, and is contributing greatly to the growth of entrepreneurship on the continent.
To Sum It All Up
Ashish Thakkar is a symbol of hope to many entrepreneurs around the world. His story has shown that no matter the situation a person is born into or is struck with in life, resilience backed with a vision, will ensure they someday become successful, no matter how many setbacks they face.
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