Brit millionaire’s rise to riches after growing up in poverty and being jobless

A bloke who left school at 16 with just one O-level has described his astounding rags-to-riches story.

Paul Ragan has gone from a council house and working on motorways to setting up a multi-million-pound insurance company.

One of Wales’ top entrepreneurs, the hard worker has established himself as a top leader and has even appeared twice on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire.

Despite spending months on the dole as a teenager, a 20-year-old Paul soon fronted a £50 million business before starting his own venture Motaquote Insurance, at the tender age of 23 which he went on to sell for £10m some 20 years later.

Paul said of his secret to success: "I’ve not always made the right decisions but I've always acted and I've always acted quickly.

"People lose confidence if they don’t see anything happening. You need to act and the strike rate of success gets better as you get older and wiser.

"The only way I could see I could make things better was to act. The penny dropped really early on because I had so much life experience compared to most 19 and 20-year-olds. I was forced into making decisions.

"It’s not rocket science. A lot of making decisions is just confidence – just waiting for someone to say: 'That’s the right thing to do’.”

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The entrepreneur described to Wales Online how his traumatic childhood shaped him for business. Growing up, he lived with his mum, who suffered with schizophrenia, and his younger sister.

Born on the Isle of White, Paul moved a lot as a young man, from the Isle to Creigiau in Wales. Eventually he left school with nothing but an O Level in history.

He went on to do business studies at college but only lasted two months before jacking that in – because he had tasted of work during a two-week work experience and wanted more.

"They offered me a job to stay," he says. "I thought: 'Stuff college, I'd rather do a job and earn money'."

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He stuck with that for a year until a mate offered him a job testing road materials on the newly-built M25. The job came with a £5,500 salary and accommodation on site in a caravan.

Soon after he moved into a council flat with his mum in Southampton. Unemployed, he applied for “at least 100 jobs” before landing on his feet.

Next, he worked as a data inputter before moving again to Cardiff to start a job with in insurance and soon rose through the ranks.

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Soon after, his dad got a windfall from a relative who passed away and invested in his son’s business. The rest, is history.

In 1991 Paul opened up Motaquote in Cardiff, while still living in London. He'd commute every day – a brutal regime that required him to leave at 5am and not get home until after 9pm.

Within 12 months he had turned over a million pounds. A branch in Tonypandy quickly followed, and then another one in Risca, and then in 1997 Paul bought his first business.

Paul then set about buying insurance brokers across south Wales and soon had a turnover of £30m.

In 2004 Paul sold his business to Callum Capital Ventures for £20m. Since then he has acquired a number of businesses and set up his own app which is now the UK’s leading private hire business.

Paul 'semi-retired' in 2017 to spend more time with his children and sold the majority of his equity at the end of 2019.

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