Successful entrepreneurs use many means to achieve success, but hard work, innovative ideas, social and family connections and start-up capital are often critical. Future Vice President Aaron Burr led a group of New Yorkers, including his rival Alexander Hamilton, whom he later killed in a duel, in obtaining a state charter for a company to supply water to 2,000 residents of Manhattan. However, Hamilton opposed Burr's insertion of a provision in its charter enabling the water company to open a bank and withdrew his connection to the firm. Burr used that provision to start the Bank of The Manhattan Co. (which eventually became JP Morgan Chase). It outlived the water works and became one of the nation's leading banking institutions – lending money and underwriting bonds, for instance, to help finance the Erie Canal, which opened in 1825.
Born in 1867 in Louisiana to former slaves, Madam C.J. Walker was working in the cotton fields by the age of five and was orphaned at the age of seven. After working in many menial jobs, she had saved enough money to manufacture and market the hair and scalp products she created when she began to lose her hair. By the time of her death in 1919, she had created a network of thousands of women to sell her products, had opened a factory in Indianapolis and had become one of the richest women in the United States.
In the late 1840s, Wilhelm Katz, a young German Jewish immigrant, arrived in the United States. He changed his name to William Filene and became a successful dry goods merchant in Boston. In 1890, he passed the business on to his sons, Edward and Albert, who transformed it into Filene's department store. Edward was an innovator who later developed Filene's Basement, where products would drop in price the longer they stayed on the shelves. He also became a leader in progressive causes, promoting for credit unions, collective bargaining, and workers' compensation.
With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, many Korean immigrants came to the U.S. seeking a higher standard of living and better educational opportunities for their children. In the 1970s and 1980s, an average of 30-35,000 Koreans came to the U.S. every year. Korean immigrants found a niche in retail like dry cleaners and grocery stores as Jews and Italians in New York and Los Angeles left these businesses in the 1970s. Much like earlier immigrant groups, Koreans owed their success to ethnic solidarity, communal loan societies and business associations.