Archipelago Correspondence – Third Edition 2013
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by Marjolein Hinfelaar, adapted by Prue Gargano
Private enterprise is alive and well in England and America. In these countries, many a dream of getting rich quickly by starting a business, inventing something or filling a market niche has become a reality for those with the right attitude.
Take Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. A brilliant IT student, he quickly found work with a Californian computer firm. His boss found him too individualistic to work with, however, and so Bill decided to start out on his own. This was the beginnings of Microsoft, a firm that took a mere ten years to dominate the market, and despite the widespread pirating of its software has made Bill Gates one of the richest men in the world.
Virgin Record's founder, Richard Branson, is another example. He started his media involvement with a student newspaper during his otherwise undistinguished student years. Virgin Records, the record company he started after he completed his studies, went so well that he was able to invest in other enterprises, including a chain of music shops and one of cinemas, and such unrelated businesses as an international airline company, a southern England train line, an insurance company and even a vodka distillery. The very variety of his enterprises has enabled him to make the most of fluctuating markets: if things were not so flourishing in the cinema world, for example, he would increase his investments in areas that were expanding.
It is not only the personalities of these men that has ushered them to the top, however. The business climate for starters in these countries has certainly helped. Subsidies, lack of restricting regulations and free bank advice are three of the factors that have led to the success of these entrepreneurs.