Isabel dos Santos attended King’s College London and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts/Science in Electrical Engineering. Since her graduation, she has been in several management positions at several companies listed on the European stock exchanges. The daughter of the former President of Angola Jose Eduardo dos Santos, she returned to Luanda to take a job as a project manager engineer for a company called “Urbana 2000.”
Her First Steps into Private Business
Urbana 2000 had just been selected to clean and disinfect the city. When her time at Urbana 2000 came to an end, Isabel became an entrepreneur and opened her own trucking business. At this time, the walkie-talkie technology was becoming ubiquitous around the city, and noticing this, Isabel began to take an interest in it. It was the reason that she eventually stepped into the telecommunications industry.
Before she could delve into telecommunications any further, Isabel dos Santos opened the Miami Beach Club in 1997. She chose Luanda Island for this venture, and it was the first establishment of its kind. This was only the beginning for Isabel dos Santos.
Over the next 20 years, Isabel dos Santos had the opportunity to expand her horizons practically all over the planet. She currently has invested in several notable companies in Angola and Portugal. The industries in which Isabel dos Santos has invested include the energy industry, finance, retail, media as well as telecommunications. She also has shares in an Angolan cement company known as “Nova Cimangola.”
Isabel dos Santos jumped further into the telecommunications sector and partnered with Portugal Telecom to create Unitel International Holdings B.V. This company is the vehicle that Isabel uses to invest in the telecommunications industry. It is based in Amsterdam.
She is also the majority shareholder in ZON Media and has held 29 percent of the company’s stock since 2012. She is also a 20 percent stakeholder in Banco Portugues de Investimento through Santoro Holding. She is also one of the founding members of Banco BIC Portugues, and she is on the Board of Directors. Banco BIC Portugues just recently purchased Banco Portugues de Negocios.
The Beginnings of Success
Isabel dos Santos has always worked on her own, and she was named the wealthiest woman in Africa in 2013. According to Forbes, her net worth reached $3 billion, and it hasn’t stopped since. When she began in business, she started a very small company, and she didn’t have very much money to do it. Over time, this business grew. This was a learning experience for her as she invested more money into the company and it continued to grow.
When Isabel dos Santos opened her bank, it was the 16th financial institution to receive a banking license. The retail bank that she opened ended up being the best in the business, and it became the second largest bank in the country. All of this happened despite the fact that some people find it extremely difficult to believe that Isabel has become a success at everything she has done without the help of her famous father.
Her Father’s Advice
Isabel dos Santos has stated that her father raised her the same way in which he raised his sons. When she went to college, she didn’t think that there was anything that she couldn’t do because her father was suggesting that she study to be an astronaut or a computer scientist. Because she was getting advice such as that, she didn’t think that it was unusual for her to study engineering.
Along with being Africa’s first female billionaire, Isabel dos Santos also received the honor of being named one of the most influential women in the world.
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