Sunny Varkey’s story is about a middle-class man who put in his blood and sweat to make it big in designing, developing and operating educational services.
The success of some entrepreneurs cannot be explained by their educational background. There are many billionaires who did not receive higher education. Contrary to popular belief, having a college degree had no bearing on their ability to succeed or prevent them from becoming some of the most successful entrepreneurs in history. Such is the story of Kerala-born billionaire educational entrepreneur Sunny Varkey who is just a high-school pass-out but is today one of the richest Indians in Dubai.
Sunny Varkey’s story is about a middle-class man who put in his blood and sweat to make it big in designing, developing and operating educational services. Varkey founded the GEMS Education Group, which now has a network of more than 80 schools spread out over the globe. GEMS is the largest operator of private kindergarten-12 grade schools in the world. Additionally, Sunny has formed alliances with UNESCO, Microsoft, the World Economic Forum, and the Clinton Global Initiative. According to Forbes, Sunny Varkey has a net worth of $3.2 billion. Let’s know about Indian educational entrepreneur Sunny Varkey who started from scratch, made it big in Dubai and is an inspiration for all.
Sunny Varkey was born in 1957 in Kerala to educator parents. His father had accepted a position at a bank, and the family moved to Dubai in 1959. There, his parents used to teach the Arabs. Sunny completed his official schooling in the United Kingdom and Dubai.
Sunny’s parents founded Our Own English High School in Dubai in 1968 to educate migrant students. During this time Sunny was employed with a bank and later worked in the hotel and healthcare industry. After growing disillusioned with his career, Sunny eventually decided to teach in the school his parents founded.
Sunny had lofty dreams and a strong desire to establish his own business. He founded Global Education Management Systems (GEMS) in 2000 with the dream of providing students with a high-quality education. In 2003, he inaugurated a school in England. He built a school and extended his company in India in 2004. The GEMS group now has operations in Singapore, Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, Libya, Jordan, the United States, and Switzerland. Sunny Varkey serves as the chairman of the Varkey Group, an umbrella corporation. He also set up the charitable Varkey Foundation.
Sunny Varkey is the founder and executive chairman of the global advisory and educational management firm GEMS Education. The company is the largest operator of private kindergarten-to-grade-12 schools in the world.
The billionaire is a non-resident Indian, Dubai-based education entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
At the age of 11, Sunny Varkey sold fruits on the side of the road to make a little extra money.
In 1968, Sunny Varkey’s parents founded Our Own English High School in Dubai to teach children of migrants. Sunny Varkey started his career at Standard Chartered Bank. He then opened a small trading company and also became part owner of the Dubai Plaza Hotel. He also ventured into the healthcare industry. However, he soon closed all his businesses to focus on the school that was started by his parents. He started offering education under different curricula: Indian (CBSE and ICSE), U.S., British, and International Baccalaureate.
In 2000, Sunny Varkey established Global Education Management Systems (GEMS). He opened a school in England in 2003. There has been no looking back ever since then. In 2004, he expanded the business in India and opened a school. For the unversed, the GEMS group operates in Libya, Jordan, the US, Switzerland, Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, and Singapore.
The entrepreneur also chairs the umbrella business organisation the Varkey Group. He is the founder and trustee of the philanthropic Varkey Foundation.
Sunny Varkey is the Founder of the GEMS Education Group. He is a passionate education entrepreneur who is the driver behind GEMS’ mission to advance education for all.
Mr Varkey believes in the power of education to reduce poverty, prejudice and conflict around the world. To find new solutions to world education challenges, he has forged partnerships with the World Economic Forum, Microsoft, UNESCO, and The Clinton Global Initiative.
Mr Varkey’s visionary’s ambition and campaigning efforts have been widely recognised. In 2012 he was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Education Partnerships. The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education conferred an award of distinction for Mr Varkey’s service to education in 2011. The Indian Government has honoured him in 2009 with the Padmashri Award, one of the highest civilian honours, and the Rajiv Gandhi Award for Eminent Educationist in 2008.