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Elon Musk already showed his high intelligence and business acumen at a very early age. At age 10 his father bought him his first computer. He taught himself programming and by age 12 he sold a space game called Blaster.

Born in South Africa on June 28, 1971, he first moved to Canada then made his way to America. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics and another one in physics.  He was interested in three areas where he saw important problems: the internet, clean energy, and space.

He moved to California in 1995 to do graduate studies at Stanford, but ended up starting an internet company called Zip2. This company was sold in 1999 for over $340 million mostly in cash and a portion in stock options. He then co-founded X.com in 1999 which eventually acquired another company that had a product known as PayPal. This was sold to eBay for$1.5 billion. He was not the sole owner of these companies but was able to get substantial amounts from their sales.  He then formed another company known as Space Exploration Technologies (Space X).  This company was awarded a $1.6 billion contract in 2008 by NASA for 12 space flights to the International Space Center as a replacement for the Space Shuttle.

If this wasn’t enough he also co-founded Tesla, an electric car company that is producing high performance electric cars that look to be commercially viable. Doing even more, he is the principal owner and Chairman of SolarCity which offers photovoltaic products and services.

He has actually followed his three areas of interest; he has co-founded and sold internet-based companies, with PayPal being a dominant player in the internet money transfer area.  With clean energy he has put up Tesla and SolarCity. For space he has put up SpaceX.

He is actually a guy looking very much forward seeing the problems humanity is and will be facing and is trying to do something about it through entrepreneurial means.  He sees the danger faced by man if earth is destroyed by man-made or natural catastrophes. The only way to get out is to go to space and form new colonies in distant planets. Hence he is in the space business.  To combat climate change we need clean energy hence he is into electric cars and solar energy.

Elon has been busy trying to achieve his idealistic goals using his entrepreneurial talents.

A true entrepreneur and business leader can create something out of nothing, or help an existing business meet and surpass its goals. When Charlie Ditkoff joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) in 1999, he brought with him experience as a corporate securities attorney and as Vice President of Credit Suisse First Boston. He had also worked in the Corporate Finance Group at Morgan Stanley, focusing mainly on healthcare. Combining his banking and legal skills with his healthcare industry knowledge, he became Head of the Global Healthcare Group and Vice Chairman of Corporate and Investment Banking at BAML in 2003. In this capacity, Charlie Ditkoff has become a leader among Wall Street bankers covering healthcare.

Tenacity, another trait of entrepreneurs and business leaders, means not giving up in the face of challenges. As a healthcare banker, it means providing sound strategies during the recent recession while the healthcare industry dealt with changing regulations as well. It means thinking creatively and listening to, but ultimately moving beyond, the naysayers. Under Charlie Ditkoff’s direction, BAML produced a free webcast with several of its senior healthcare bankers and experts from the Healthcare Financial Management Association as panelists. They shared their expertise on a variety of industry topics, assuaging fears. In the growing healthcare banking sector, BAML had committed $50 billion by September 2010.

In addition to vision and tenacity, the best entrepreneurs and business leaders possess communication and interpersonal skills. Charlie Ditkoff’s training and experience as an attorney serve him well here. Well-organized business leaders pay attention to details and know how to delegate. They also are self-starters and smart networkers, and they avoid short-sighted thinking. Perhaps most important of all, good entrepreneurs and true leaders recognize the crucial role reputation plays in the success of a business. That understanding and commitment leads to long-term growth for the business and its owner.

Teaching is the noblest profession.  You can impart knowledge to so many people which help them lead productive lives.  It is not an easy job (some say it’s a calling) you must find a way to let students understand what the lesson is all about.

There is one man with such outstanding academic credentials.  Three degrees from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology: B.S. in Mathematics, B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science and topped this off with an MBA from Harvard University.  Like other individuals of his caliber Salman Khan earned big bucks working at a hedge fund firm.

In 2004, while living in Boston, he remotely tutored math to a cousin in New Orleans.  She learned her lessons and other relatives and friends began to get tortured this way too.  To maximize the number of students taught he used YouTube to give his 10-15 minute tutorials. This was the beginning of the Khan Academy which gives online lessons that even Bill Gates and his children use.

Khan is no longer connected with the hedge fund world and is totally focused in his academy. What’s so outstanding is while other online teaching course enterprises charge a fee, you can download lessons from his website for free, no gimmicks whatsoever. So far over 100 million lessons have been delivered. His enterprise venture is non-profit and survives on donations.

Salman Khan is a gift to the world.

Rags to riches stories, like that of Darren T. Kimura, never fails to amaze and inspire people.

To say he had to work his way through high school and college is an understatement. Kimura did not only handle one job, he handled three jobs while studying. Exposed to hard work early in life, the entrepreneur developed a strong work ethic. He saw work as part of living and as a means to survive.

After graduating from college, Kimura decided to go into business. But he also realized that he had to start making major changes in his character and personality to be taken seriously in such an austere industry. Off went the surfboard and earrings, and in came a more professional image. He started to act and speak the part, but he still had to walk the walk.

Using credit cards for financing, Kimura started his first business in the oddest of places — the back seat of his car. He called his business Energy Industries, a company focused on efficiency and renewable energy solutions. It may sound like a good idea today, but riding the green wave fourteen years ago was unheard of. It took the budding entrepreneur a lot of persistence and hard work before he finally made it big.

Over time, many commercial and industrial clients saw the efficiency of Kimura’s services — which aim to reduce energy consumption. Finally, Kimura’s hard work paid off as he now earns millions by offering eco-friendly alternatives. The business makes about fifty million dollars per year, but the innovative entrepreneur would like to see it reach the two hundred million dollar mark. From one employee, the company now operates with ninety dedicated workers in offices found across the United States.

His drive is relentless, his innovation unparalleled. With these traits, there is no doubt that Kimura can achieve anything he sets his mind to.

As the Vice President of Outsourcing Services for Cameo Corporate Services Limited, a position he has held since 2005, Ashok Bagdy provides strategic oversight and maintains responsibility for the company’s annual budget. Mr. Bagdy possesses a long history of entrepreneurship and business leadership, and he has enhanced the success rate of Cameo by implementing speech recognition (iChart, M-Modal & eScription). More than 75 percent of the company’s volume now involves this technology.

Prior to this role, Ashok Bagdy accepted the position of Director of Business Development with Copytalk, a transcription and digital dictation company based in Sarasota, Florida. In this executive position, Mr. Bagdy helped expand the company by initiating professional relationships with premier transcription firms in the Philippines and in India. His duties at Copytalk included developing the company’s services in the United States and networking with resellers and corporate clients’ senior management.

Ashok Bagdy also served as the Director of Business Development for YouKnowBest.com, a website for which he developed sales and marketing strategies. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Bagdy held professional responsibility for overseeing all business operations, managing risk for customers, and creating a customer base of the best fabric companies in the country. Ashok Bagdy travelled at length to develop a comprehensive catalogue of these fabric companies.

Early in his career, Ashok Bagdy spent two years as a Principal of the Bagdy Group, a role in which he developed new client relationships and helped the company grow its revenue by 100 percent. Much of Ashok Bagdy’s responsibility at the Bagdy Group included new business development and general management. Throughout his career as an executive, whether for startups or large, multinational companies, Ashok Bagdy has provided sound management and development opportunities for his employers.

Ruth Wakefield’s sweet story is a true lesson in ingenuity. After studying to become a dietician and food lecturer, Wakefield and her husband bought an inn between Boston and New Bedford in Massachusetts, which they named the Toll House Inn. She planned the inn’s menus, and baked for its guests. Wakefield was continually altering and improving her recipes, and as a result, her desserts became quite famous throughout New England.

toll house cookies

photo credit: slgckgc

While preparing a batch of her famous Butter Drop Do cookies one day, she realized she was out of baking chocolate. So she substituted a cut-up bar of semisweet chocolate that had been given to her by Andrew Nestle, figuring that the chunks would melt into the batter as the cookies baked. She was surprised to find they didn’t melt when she pulled the cookies from the oven, but the resulting treats were still delicious in their own right. The Toll House chocolate chip cookies soon became very popular throughout the area. The recipe even appeared in a Boston newspaper. Nestle saw an increase in the sale of his semisweet chocolate bars, and eventually introduced semisweet chocolate morsels, making it even easier to bake chocolate chip cookies with his chocolate.

Wakefield and Nestle eventually struck a deal that allowed Nestle to print the recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate morsels. In exchange, Wakefield got free chocolate for the rest of her life. If it wasn’t for Wakefield’s resourcefulness and creativity, the world might have missed out on her delicious chocolate chip cookies.