The only self made female billionaire in Florida

Ash Jurberg

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For many years, I've been writing stories on entrepreneurs, billionaires, and business leaders. Readers like to learn inspiring stories of people from small beginnings to become a success.

Florida is home to 70 billionaires in total, but there is one person who stands out to me. She is the only self-made female billionaire in Florida, having made her fortune herself and not relying on an inheritance.

I thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at her story.

The only self-made female billionaire in Florida

With a net worth of $1 billion, the only self-made female billionaire in Florida is Neerja Sethi.

Born in India, Sethi completed an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and a Masters's Degree in Computer Science in her home country. She then completed a second Masters's in Computer Science at Oakland University.

In 1980 while Sethi was working in Michigan, she met Bharat Desai (whom she would later marry), a student at the University of Michigan. Together with just $2000, the duo started an IT consulting and outsourcing firm called Syntel from their apartment.

That $2000 proved to be a very wise investment.

In 1997 they took their company public, and by July 2018 Syntel had grown to 22,000 employees and over $900 million in revenue. This prompted French IT firm Atos to acquire Syntel for $3.4 billion.

Sethi received $510 million for her share of the business.

After the sale, she left the business and has since been involved in charitable and philanthropic endeavors. In 2012, together with her husband, she launched the Desai Sethi Family Foundation to donate to charitable causes.

Just last month, Sethi and her husband donated $20 million to the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine to launch the Desai Sethi Urology Institute.

“Bharat Desai and Neerja Sethi’s generosity will leave a lasting legacy at the University of Miami and the Miller School of Medicine. We are deeply grateful for their partnership and dedication to usher the Miller School toward excellence and preeminence in the field of urology.” University of Miami President Julio Frenk, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Sethi and her husband live on Fisher Island in Florida.

Readers, what do you think of Sethi's story? From an immigrant to starting a business with just $2000 before rising to become a billionaire?

Please leave your comments in the section below.

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