Richard Branson Global Empire Virgin Group

Born on July 18, 1950, in Surrey, England

Richard Branson struggled in school and dropped out at age 16

at the age of 16 to start a youth-culture magazine called Student

By 1969, Branson was living in a London commune, surrounded by the British music and drug scene

Mail-order record company called Virgin to help fund his magazine efforts

With the success of the record shop, the high school drop-out was able to build a recording studio in 1972 in Oxfordshire, England

Branson launched Virgin Records in 1973.

Branson signed aspiring musical groups to label, including the Sex Pistols. Artists such as the Culture Club, the Rolling Stones, and Genesis would follow.

Virgin Music became one of the top six record companies in the world

Entrepreneurial spirit led Branson to found Voyager Group in 1980, the airline Virgin Atlantic in 1984, and a series of Virgin Megastores.

But Branson’s success was not always predictable.

Branson’s Virgin Group now holds more than 200 companies in more than 30 countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, Asia, Europe and South Africa. He has expanded his businesses to include a train company, a luxury game preserve, a mobile phone company and a space-tourism company, Virgin Galactic.