Get to know the most successful Latino entrepreneurs of this year.
Latin America and wealth, very few would relate these two words. For the most part, Latin Americans are not thought of as particularly wealthy. However, although some may not believe it, Latin America has affluent and successful people. Of course, to reach that economic level, one needs to be a good entrepreneur.
In addition, Latin America has great economic potential. There are many business fields worth undertaking, such as livestock, agriculture, banking systems, technology, mining industry, tourism, etc.
Despite this, very few Latinos have managed to exploit this potential into business. Who are the most prominent businessmen in Latin America this year? What kind of business have they undertaken? What country do they come from? In this article we will give you all the details regarding these successful Latinos.
1. Carlos Slim / Mexico
Carlos Slim is a Mexican businessman famous for his great fortune. Some years ago, he was listed as the richest man in the world by Forbes magazine. In fact, he continues to occupy the top positions among the richest men in the world.
Slim has, in fact, been a good businessman since his youth. Even as a young man, he invested large amounts of money in business purchases, real estate sales, etc. Over the years, he continued to increase his fortune and create new businesses. For example, in 1980 he created the Carso group, one of the most famous and important conglomerates in all of Latin America.
The Carso group continued to acquire more and more companies in the following years. In 1982, while Mexico was going through a historical crisis, Slim and his group continued to invest large sums of money in the country.
As a result of all this, Slim now owns and invests in multi-million-dollar companies, such as Telmex, América Móvil, Hotel Chain Calinda, French Patisserie El Globo, The New York Times, etc.
2. Joseph Safra / Brazil
Joseph Safra is Brazilian with Syrian descent. He is known for being the richest banker in the world, and this makes him one of the most prominent businessmen in all of Latin America. He leads his enormous empire; he is the president of Safra Group, a company that owns companies such as Safra National Bank of New York, Safra Bank in Brazil and J. Safra Sarasin in Switzerland.
Safra has been a business expert even from a young age thanks to the good example of his father, Jacob Safra, and his older brother, Edmond Safra. While still a teenager, Joseph Safra founded Banco Safra along with his younger brother. Sometime later, he bought his brother’s share, becoming the sole owner of Banco Safra. Currently, Joseph is still working in businesses and increasing his wealth.
3. Jorge Paulo Lemann / Brazil
Jorge Lemman is a Brazilian businessman and investor of Swiss origin. He was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1939. His father is Paul Lemman, a Swiss immigrant who founded the dairy company Leco, and his mother, Anna Yvette Truebner, also of Swiss origin.
Lemman has had an interesting business history. At the beginning of his career, Lemman had an economic loss with Invesco, after going bankrupt with an investment of 2% of the funds. However, Lemman continued his career in business. In 1971, Lemman and two others founded an investment bank called Banco Garantia, one of the fastest growing banks in Brazil.
In 1998, it was sold to Credit Suisse First Boston for the amount of 675 million dollars, an investment that was used to enter the world of beers and acquire Brazilian beers Brahma and Companhia Antarctica Paulista. Then they created the AmBev, the beverage company of the Americas, the largest brewer in the world. Thanks to this, Jorge Lemman is known as “the king of beer.”
In addition, Lemman has other very important positions, such as being part of the board of directors of Lojas Americanas, S.A., president of the Latin American Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange, founder of the Fundação Estudar and member of the international advisory board of Daimler Chrysler. He has also been an investor in the 3G Capital fund, an investment company that owns large companies such as Burger King.
4. Iris Fontbona / Chile
Iris Fontbona was born in 1943 in Chile. When she was only 17 years old, she married businessman Luksic Abaroa. He began his fortune with the sale of a copper mine, then it became a mining empire, one of the largest in South America. Iris Fontbona, occupying the role of wife to the millionaire businessman, showed an entrepreneurial spirit helping increase his fortune. They expanded to fields such as wood, maritime transport, the beer business, or the banking system, acquiring 50% of Banco de Chile.
Although up to that moment Fontbona was already a successful businesswoman, after the death of her husband, in 2005, her entrepreneurial spirit was more noticeable. In that same year, Fontbona became one of the most powerful widows in the world. Since then, she acquired 70% of a television channel (channel 13) and with investments in fuels through the Chilean division of Shell.
All this fortune is now in the hands of this famous businesswoman. It is worth mentioning that Iris Fontbona is the only woman who has been listed by Forbes among the richest in Latin America.
5. German Larrea / Mexico
German Larrea was born on August 7, 1941, in Mexico City. Although German Larrea has been named as the second most successful and wealthy businessman in all of Mexico, Germán is a mysterious billionaire. He has rarely been caught on camera and, it seems, has never offered an interview. Despite this, Larrea is a successful and exemplary entrepreneur.
Larrea has very important positions. According to his biography, he is Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chairman and CEO of Grupo Mexico, has been a member of the Board of Directors since 1981, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Southern Copper Corporation, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Mexican Ferroviario Group, etc. In addition, he founded Grupo Impresa, a Mexican publishing company.
He is also a director of the National Bank of Mexico (Citigroup), which is part of Grupo Financiero Banamex, and of the Mexican Council of Businessmen.
We can find many other successful entrepreneurs in Latin America, but the ones we’ve mentioned above are the most prominent and influential. They are truly exceptional business leaders!