Are you currently stuck in a rut and looking for a bit of motivation to get you going? Well, look no farther than the story of David Steward, a man who came from nothing to now be worth around $3.9 billion. One of only seven black billionaires in the United States, Steward grew up in the American south back when it was racially segregated. It was an uphill battle to get an education and his circumstances were made even more precarious by his family’s poverty, a situation that was so bad that they didn’t even have indoor plumbing for several years.
But despite all these terrible circumstances, David Steward would go on to get a college degree and land steady employment thereafter. He would later go on to found his own business, World Wide Technology (WWT), in 1990. From being in debt to the tune of $3.5 million, Steward has grown the privately-held WWT into the most valuable black-owned company in America with assets of $12 billion. He has now become one of the richest African-Americans on the planet but he remains focused on impacting lives which he sees as the ultimate returns on investment.
David Steward is the Founder of the Largest Black-Owned Company in America
David Steward presently has a net worth of $3.9 billion and the major source of his fortune is the company which he founded, World Wide Technologies. Originally established in July 1990, WWT is billed as a leader in the systems integrator and supply chains market. It provides technology solutions, including cloud capabilities, data center and virtualization, security, mobility, networking technologies, voice, video and collaborations, from over 3000 manufacturers to entities in the commercial, telecoms, and government sectors.
From just a handful of employees and a 4,000 square foot office in 1990, WWT now operates in 4 million square feet of space in more than 20 facilities throughout the world. They employ more than 7,000 people and generate about $12 billion in annual revenue with their customers including the likes of Citi, Verizon, and the U.S. Federal Government. Given such levels of success, many people have pressured Steward to take his company public but he refuses to budge. According to him, it is better he retains private control so that the company would remain focused on the goal of serving customers better and not just making profits.
He Has Co-Founded Other Companies Such As Kingdom Capital and TelcoBuy
Thanks to an entrepreneurial bent that he learned from his jack-of-all-trades dad, David Steward has also gone on to establish other thriving companies such as TelcoBuy and Kingdom Capital. Just like WWT, TelcoBuy is also a technological solutions company. It provides enterprise networking services and data center security. It also resells information technology hardware. TelcoBuy is based in St. Louis, Missouri, and occupies two million square feet of warehousing, distribution, and integration space. It has partnered with the likes of IBM over the years.
Another major source of revenue for David Steward is his private investment firm, Kingdom Capital. The investment fund is focused on early-stage companies that provide tech-based health and medical solutions. These companies must also reflect the SHIELD values of service, humility, integrity, excellence, love, and diversity. Kingdom Capital came into existence in 2016 and has thus far invested in several companies, including Canopy Biosciences, a biotech research tools company. Kingdom Capital invested about $750,000 in the firm in May 2018.
The World Wide Technology CEO is The Co-Owner of the St. Louis Blues of the NHL
Another area that is feeling the David Steward effect is sports. The business magnate and his company, WWT, sponsor the race track in Madison, Illinois. They also sponsor Bubba Wallace, the only black driver in NASCAR. Away from motorsports, Steward is also part of the group that purchased the NHL side, St. Louis Blues, for $130 million in 2012. The move, which made David Steward the first African-American co-owner of any major sports team in St. Louis, was as much a business decision as it was a civic one.
Steward saw it as a way of promoting diversity in a sport where it was sorely lacking and he remains committed to that vision till this very day. Even though he has not found it so easy getting more black families to come out and watch Blues’ games, he is undeterred and continues to work to replicate his racing success in the NHL. To this end, he has been collaborating with the NHL’s head of social impact, growth initiatives, and legislative affairs in order to come up with useful thoughts and strategies.
Smith Has Been Honored with Numerous Accolades for His Civic and Community Engagement
As earlier stated, David Steward believes that the eternal return on investments is not the huge profits that his company generates each year. Rather, it is being able to make a difference in the lives of others. To this end, he has devoted his time and resources to making the world a better place than he met it. Steward and his wife, Thelma, have supported several philanthropic efforts in the city of St. Louis, including the Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz, a performance venue that attracts world-class musicians as well as provides space for education and community engagement.
They also donated $1.3 million to the University of Missouri St. Louis in 2018 to create the David and Thelma Steward Institute for Jazz. It is gestures like this that have fetched David several accolades over the years, including an honorary doctor of laws from Washington University. Other accolades include Horatio Alger Distinguished Americans Award, 100 Most Influential Black Americans Ebony Magazine (2000), Black Engineer of The Year (2012), Granville T. Woods Award for outstanding CEO (1997), Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (1998), and Entrepreneur of the Year Black Enterprise (2000).
David steward is also a receiver of the Silver Buffalo Award from the Boys Scout of America. This is the highest honor given out by the organization and ironically, Steward was once refused entry into the organization because of his race. While growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, a young Steward wanted to join the Boys Scout. They however refused to admit him based on the color of his skin and his mom was forced to deliver that message to him. It made the little boy cry but he later put it behind him. Such an experience could easily have made Steward grow up to be bitter but he chose to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness that his parents taught him.
- David Steward is the founder of the largest black-owned company in America – World Wide Technologies.
- He is one of the three richest Black Americans with a net worth of $3.9 billion.
- Born in 1951 during the period of racial segregation, Steward grew up in St. Louis, Missouri.
- Asides from WWT, Steward has ownership stakes in some professional sports teams, including NHL’s St. Louis Blues.
- He is also a noted philanthropist and has received many accolades, including the boy’s scout top honor – the Silver Buffalo Award.