The Media Personality and British Entrepreneur, Alan Sugar Started From Meager Beginnings

Born on March 24, 1947, Sir Alan Michael Sugar began life in Hackney, East London, and the son of a tailor. Sugar was the forth child and the youngest of Fay and Nathan Sugar. During his youth, Sugar lived with his family in a council flat and was nicknamed “Mopsy,” because of his curly hair.

The early years were not favorable to Sugar. According to Sugar, his family was not poor, but they did have to fend for themselves if they wanted anything. By the time he was 11-years-old, Sugar figured all of this out. He once said, “I was not a ruffian, but had plenty of talk.” This talk allowed him to get a lot of part-time jobs.

According to Sugar's autobiography, he would rise every morning at around 6:00 am and start boiling beetroot to take to a local greengrocer, where he would sell it from a stand. He would also have a paper route after school that brought in a few shillings each day. On Saturday mornings he would make his way over to a another part-time job at a bakery. Sugar would later comment, “I often wondered where my entrepreneurial spirit came from. Certainly not from my father Nathan.”

By the time he was 16, Sugar was bringing in more money from his part-time jobs than his father was from his job at the local garment district. At this time he would leave Brooke House Secondary School and start out on his own. His first real job was with the British government as a statistician for the Ministry of Education. However, this would not be his calling.

He knew that the only way to get ahead in life was to start his own business. So Sugar took $150 and began to sell electronics, TV antennas and other electrical devices out of the back of an old van he bought for fifty-quid. The first week he was in business for himself, Sugar would make a $90 profit on his electronic goods. He was once quoted as saying, “Once you decide to work for yourself, you never go back to work for someone else.”

This attitude would keep him selling everything he could get his hands on. An article in the Daily Mail in 2009 had quoted Sugar as saying, “I came from an environment where I needed to succeed. There was no wealth or anything like that in my family.”

These thoughts would drive him over the next four years. Sugar would continue to build his sales business, until he got enough money together to start one start an electronic manufacturing company in 1968. He would name this company Amstrad, after his initials and his first business, Alan Michael Sugar Trading. That same year, he would marry Ann, a young girl he met when he was 17-years-old.

Both of these moves were decisions Sugar would never regret, for his personal life and his business life. He would eventually build Amstrad into one of the largest electronic companies in Britain.

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