How This Former African Factory Worker Made Over $1 Billion Dollars
Over many years, generations, and events beyond our control, success has proven countless times that it is attainable by any man or woman who never lets his or her life circumstances stand in their way. It has shown that a proven set of rules, adjustable based on your challenges, if adhered to, will make you a symbol of hope in your community.
This is the success story of Sudhir Ruparelia, a man who went through trials, was a former cab driver, worked in a factory, supermarket, abattoir, and did many other odd jobs, but still found his way to a journey of greatness, where he successfully built a personal net worth estimated at well over $1 billion dollars.
Here’s how he did it:
The Early Life And Education Of Sudhir Ruparelia
Sudhir was born in Mengo hospital, Kampala, Uganda, in the year 1956, to a small family of two sisters and a brother. Growing up, he attended Bat Valley primary school, Jinja secondary school, and also Kololo secondary school, up until 1971.
In 1972, the Ugandan president, Idi Amin, during a vicious rule, gave an executive order banning all Africans of Asian origin from the country. This was disastrous for Sudhir Ruparelia, especially since he was truly Ugandan, but unfortunately light skinned and Asian from about four generations back.
This ban got him and his family to pack up their things and run for their lives. He migrated to the United Kingdom, where he did all sorts of petty jobs like working in a factory, abattoir, supermarkets, and several other oddities, while trying his best to study every evening, so he could finish his A’Levels.
Sudhir, a hustler as he was, closely watched his finances, saved a lot of money, and three years later, was eventually able to buy a small house in the United Kingdom. This small success was a major milestone for him since he never had to worry about having a roof over his head again.
He then continued to work in the United Kingdom till the year 1985, when he realised it was now safe for him to return to his home country, Uganda.
His Big Break
In 1986, a year after Sudhir Ruparelia returned to Uganda, he started a beer stockist shop with about $25,000 dollars that he had saved during his 13 years of struggle in the United Kingdom.
Since no beers were manufactured in Uganda at the time, he sold imported beer brands like White Cap, Tusker, Pilsner, alongside other basic home necessities like salt. His shop was located on a building which he now owns. It also houses one of his successful businesses of today called, Club Rouge.
As luck would find him, his business grew really fast within six months, making him one of the two leading stockists in Kampala.
To ensure his success, Sudhir Ruparelia was very active in every aspect of his business, from offloading to stocking, money-handling, and more. His vigilance helped him a whole lot because, if he easily missed anything, he could lose his whole capital. His cashflow was also so much, but his profits were so little, hence, he had to pay extra attention to what his staffs were doing, or they could abscond with his money.
The Growth And Expansion Of His Business
During the early days of his business, a majority of his customers were foreigners who paid in hard currency. As the business grew, Sudhir realised that largely getting paid in hard currencies could create another business opportunity for him. And so, he started a foreign exchange business on the side, which brought in a whole lot of money.
The growth of his forex business prompted him to focus heavily on it to ensure his survival. The success Sudhir Ruparelia got prompted him to setup Uganda’s first and oldest forex bureau, called Crane Forex Bureau, which still stands till today. By 1990, his business was so successful that it was bringing in an average profit of up to $10,000 every single day!
This amazing success prompted him to start buying a lot of properties, so much that it is joked today that he owns half of the buildings in Kampala, the capital and largest city in Uganda.
The Start Of Crane Bank
Sudhir’s forex business was so successful that Ugandan banks started coming down hard on him, since he was eating largely into their profits.
This distress caused him to setup his own bank in a bid to circumvent this issue and secure the future of his forex business. And so, by 1995 after paying the mandatory $1 million dollars required by the Bank of Uganda, Crane Bank was born.
His Business Today
Today, Sudhir Ruparelia’s investments span through retail, banking, insurance, media, education, floriculture, hotels, and a whole lot more registered under the Ruparelia group. He has successfully built an empire worth over $1 billion dollars, and isn’t just the wealthiest man in Uganda, but is also one of the most inspiring figures in the country.
To Sum It All Up
Sudhir Ruparelia although perceived as Asian, is 100% African. Even his father was 100% African!
His success story has shown that no matter what challenges you face in life, keeping your dreams and goals constantly fresh on your mind, and working towards them, is what you need to someday turnout successful.
He was a cab driver, a factory worker and did many other odd jobs, but all towards a perceived end, and not just to survive. If you find yourself in a similarly distraught situation, taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves and turning them to your advantage can serve as a platform to help liberate you from the challenges that come your way.
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