Carlos Slim Helu, Grupo Carso – Latin America’s Richest Man
In early 2008, the Forbes Rich List noted that two people had amassed a personal fortune exceeding that of Bill Gates, the long-term head of the list. One of those men was Carlos Slim Helu. The entrepreneur made it to number two with $68 billion as a result of his amazing business acumen and his impressive list of achievements, thus making him the richest man in Latin America. His extensive business record literally speaks for itself and, as such, he can provide an excellent blueprint for young aspiring entrepreneur to follow. Luck, it seems, has nothing to do with it!
The Young Slim
Carlos Slim Helu was born in Mexico City on January 28, 1940. His father had previously moved to the area from Lebanon but displayed an amazing determination to succeed in the land that he had decided to call home. Not long after heading over to Mexico, Julian Slim opened La Estrella del Oriente, which was a dry goods store. It was relatively successful and allowed him to bring his family up in comfort. With the proceeds of the store, Slim went on to invest in real estate and found himself doing better than he ever believed that he could. Carlos Slim Helu certainly had an inspirational role model to look up to, which may explain why he was determined to do well in business.
Aside from these humble beginnings, very little is known about the childhood of Carlos Slim Helu. The entrepreneur was relatively sheltered. However, he did enjoy a great education at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. He graduated with a degree in engineering and found that he had a talent for understanding complex technology. This was later used to establish his niche in the telecom industry.
Slim has recently attributed his leave of success as an entrepreneur to his business knowledge and innate ability to identify viable business opportunities before they come to the attention of the average investor. The list of positions of power that the entrepreneur has held over the years is certainly impressive. He started out in telecommunications and worked his way up into a power position. Today he controls Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex), America Movil and Telcel companies, all of which are now run on a day-to-day basis by his sons. He bought out Telmex in 1990 from the Mexican government, which effectively gave him the stable millionaire status he craved. Also, America Movil has expanded to cover the entire Latin American region under the entrepreneur’s control. This alone would be enough to make him a billionaire, but it is his financial company that has sent his personal fortune soaring.
Grupo Carso was Slim’s brainchild. He established it as a financial empire shortly after the turn of the Millennium. It effectively worked to buy out failing companies in order to inject financial help into them and benefit as they recovered. Alternatively, the company sometimes dismantled the pieces and sold them off for a profit. A prime example of this is CompUSA. It was a retail chain that was liquidated in 2007. The entrepreneur bought the 103 stores and sold them off to make money. This example is the most famous but is also one of the most typical.
Slim has extremely advanced knowledge of the financial and business worlds, having even held the vice-presidency of the Mexican Stock Exchange for a while as well as being the president of the New York Stock Exchange’s Latin American Committee between 1996 and 1998. It is his knowledge and insight that gained him these roles that have actively led to his position of wealth. As such, he is an entrepreneur that should undoubtedly be an example of how to make a fortune for the budding entrepreneurs of today.