David Steward borrowed $2k to start his first business. He is now worth $6 billion

Abu Mubarik June 07, 2023
Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023
David Steward borrowed 2k to start his entrepreneurial journey and is now the second richest black man in America. Photo credit: Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

David Steward is the second richest Black American with a net worth of $6 billion, per Forbes’ estimates. The self-made billionaire started his entrepreneurial journey from a humble background and worked his way up the ladder to become successful.

Born in Chicago in 1951, Steward grew up in segregation with his seven siblings, and at one point, he was the only Black boy in his school. His father worked as a janitor, mechanic, and trash collector.

Steward obtained a B.S. in business in 1973 from Central Missouri State University. He was also awarded Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters by Harris Stowe State University in 2002 and Lindenwood University in 2010.

Steward started his career in St. Louis where he worked as a substitute teacher while applying for full-time jobs. He briefly became an associate executive for the Boy Scouts of America before joining Wagner Electric Corp. in 1974 as a production manager.

When Wagner Electric Corp. went out of business a year later, he joined Missouri Pacific Railroad Company in 1975 and exited the firm in 1979. While with the company, he worked as a sales representative.

He subsequently moved to Federal Express where he worked for five years. Steward was so diligent and hardworking, earning him the best salesman at Federal Express. The award, he said in an interview “was a defining moment. I asked myself, Is this what I want out of life?”

“That vision sort of hit me then that there was an emptiness and a confinement to working for someone else. That’s when I really started thinking about buying my own business,” he told Horatio Alger Association.

He approached his father for a $2000 loan which he used to launch Transportation Business Specialists, which audited and reviewed freight-bill and overcharges for the rail industry. He later established a sister company that was in charge of auditing undercharges for railroad companies called Transport Administrative Service.

In 1990, he launched what would later turn out to be his most important business. He founded IT provider World Wide Technology (WWT) with a shoestring budget and with seven employees. Today, the company is one of the largest Black-owned IT providers in the U.S. with more than 20 locations across the world. The company provides services for both the American government and private organizations.

WWT notes that it has more than 8,000 employees and generates more than $14.5 billion in annual revenue, according to Bloomberg. The technology services provider specializes in cloud capabilities, data center, and virtualization, security, mobility, and networking technologies along with voice, video, and collaboration solutions.

Steward is also the founder of Kingdom Capital, a values-driven private investment firm with a focus on early-stage companies with technology-based health and medical solutions. What is more, the billionaire is also the author of two books — Doing Business by The Good Book, published in 2004, and Leadership by the Good Book, published in 2020.

The entrepreneur has been married for over 44 years. He has two children and two grandchildren. In addition to his business success, Steward has won several awards. He was recognized as the 2012 Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) and the 2015 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Citizen of the Year. He and his wife, Thelma, have received the Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award.


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates