It’s no wonder with recessions gripping large parts of the world, people and companies are going bankrupt regularly.

However, there are a number of famous entrepreneurs who refused to surrender. Instead, they fought back and eventually recuperated, making them even more successful than before.

Here are some well-renowned entrepreneurs who bounced back from bankruptcy and came out victorious:

1. Henry Ford

Before he made a name in the automotive industry, Henry Ford made some business missteps, and had to file for bankruptcy. He had a few failed automotive endeavors early in his career, including Detroit Automobile Co., which he started in 1899.

The cars were too expensive and low-quality for average consumers. He was too big of a perfectionist. His plant only produced 20 cars as he assiduously tinkered with designs.

The company was revamped as the Henry Ford Company and became fruitful, later changing its name to the Cadillac Automobile Company.

Ford had left by then, and went on to set up the Ford Motor Company in 1903. Five years later, Ford launched the Model T Ford, regarded as the world’s first affordable car.

A hard lesson was learned then. Sometimes a good product isn’t enough. You have to build a brand first.

2. Walt Disney

The cartoon animation pioneer withstood several financial troubles in the late 1920s and 1930s, including losing rights to the popular Oswald the Lucky Rabbit character. Despite early popularity, the studio’s rapid employment of animators was too much for the business to sustain.

Immense debt forced the company into liquidation and left Disney broke. With barely enough cash to finance the project, Disney released “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1938.

This blockbuster movie catapulted the company straight out of bankruptcy – making Disney’s company the biggest media conglomerate in America.

3. Bill Gates

Bill Gates was a Harvard University dropout and he co-owned a computer business called Traf-O-Data with a high-school friend, Paul Allen. His business idea became soon obsolete and soon failed.

He had a great passion for computer programming, and the duo wrote software and a new start-up called Microsoft. That would be the world’s largest software company today.

It went public in 1986, and by the next year its rising share price made the then-31-year-old Gates the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. Through hard work and a lot of failed endeavors, Gates came out victorious from his bankruptcy.

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4. Steve Jobs

After his forcible resignation from Apple, Jobs spent several years creating NeXT, a computer workstation for educators.

However, a high price tag and many imperfections and bugs found in the workstation led to very low sales. His company lost hundreds of millions, leading him to stop manufacturing hardware and focus on being a software-only vendor.

His products were innovative and popular for some time, so Apple decided to buy NeXT in 1996. Their own efforts to upgrade the Macintosh operating system failed, so they turned to Jobs for help.

After the sale, Steve Jobs first began working as an advisor and was later appointed acting-CEO, then finally CEO.

5. Milton S. Hershey

Milton Hershey was born in Pennsylvania and grew up working hard on the family farm. He stopped his education in fourth grade, but he spent six years establishing a confectionery business in Philadelphia relying on the experience he gained while he was an apprentice at a candy and ice-cream making shop.

Unfortunately, in 1882, his business went bankrupt. He later tried another stunt in the form of a confectionery business in Denver, but a three-year depression was hitting the city, leaving him penniless again.

Hershey soon set up the Lancaster Caramel Company. By 1894, he was one of Lancaster’s most affluent residents. By selling his caramel business, he formed the Hershey Chocolate Company.


There is a common theme of persistence in every story which every entrepreneur should learn. Having a business means remaining diligent and devoted. Even when there is failure, the important thing is to carry on.

All of the struggles and comebacks these people have been through made them heroes of today’s business stage, and many people look up to them to learn some valuable lessons.

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Leila Dorari
Leila Dorari is a freelance writer and a business consultant from Sydney. Currently, she is working with one of the best creditors voluntary liquidation companies available at the moment. In her spare time, she is either window shopping or exploring new ways to make her life more meaningful.