The old adage about nice guys finishing last and having to step on others on their way to the top just didn’t ring true when I interviewed successful self-starters. Compassion is one of the nine success secrets I identified, and a young man named Ashish Thakkar proves again that helping others never hurts you or your success.
Thakkar’s parents were from India, but lived in Uganda in 1972 and were among Asians expelled by Idi Amin. They escaped to the United Kingdom, where Thakkar was born. Twelve years later, his family moved to Rwanda. When genocide broke out in 1994, the family had to flee again, this time through the famous Hotel Rwanda.
The family re-established in Kampala and at age 15, Thakkar asked to leave school and start his own business. He already had been selling computers at school. Thakkar started with $6000 and now is Africa’s youngest multimillionaire, with operations in 26 countries and 7,000 employees.
Thakkar can cite many reasons for his success, but he has been quoted as saying that his personal and professional values focus on truth and compassion. He supports small and medium-sized businesses in Africa and launched the Mara Foundation to help young entrepreneurs. And he says that impact, not wealth, are the best measures of success.