From homeless to millionaire – and still proud of his local roots

MOST millionaires will have a story or two worth sharing.

But surely not many can equal Carmarthenshire’s Kevin Green.

After growing up on the dairy farm his family owned in Ferryside, he found himself living on the streets after a bitter falling out with his dad.

He picked himself up and, with a little inspiration from the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson, today is a multi-millionaire property developer and social entrepreneur.

Back in 1988 the now 49-year-old found himself without a roof over his head.

He had left home after falling out with his father about how the family farm could be run.

“I told him to stick his farm and ran away from home,” he said.

Kevin made his way to the West Country, where he found himself living out on the streets for several months.

He is also dyslexic, so says circumstances were not always on his side.

“Things were stacked against me,” he explained.

He said after a few months of feeling sorry for himself he decided it was time to get work.

He went back to farming roots and secured a job in farm management at a dairy farm.

In just two years he was running three farms.

Then he took his first steps towards becoming one of the UK’s largest residential property landlords after winning the Nuffield Scholarship in agriculture at Gelli Aur College, Llandeilo, in 1999.

With the scholarship he studied the personalities of high achievers, which led him to interviewing business heavyweights, such as Mr Gates and Mr Branson.

“They are the people who influence me,” he said.

Kevin said one thing which Richard Branson said to him in the interview has stuck with him.

He said: “If you recognise qualities in other individuals, you too possess those qualities.”

Kevin said he ended up going into business for himself because he does not like working for anyone else.

“I’m a bit of a control freak and I like owning things.

“I wanted to be a millionaire, so I had security for my children.

“I found myself homeless and know what it is like not being able put food on my plate and don’t want them to experience that,” he explained.

Kevin started off by buying properties and says the rest is history.

He said the biggest challenge has been self-belief.

“A big challenge for me was not having enough self-belief. We all think we cannot do it, but I had to prove it to myself.

“Building that business was proof I could do it even when I had been put down.”

His advice to those wanting to start a successful business is to identify a hobby and turn it into a living.

He said people starting a business must love it and be doing it for themselves.

“I love what I do,” he said.

He said another factor behind his driven personality was the death of his younger sister, when he was 22.

“I would not have been a multi-millionaire if it had not been for that. She did not have a choice.

“When she died I realised that family was too important and I thought I had better make amends with dad.”

This led to Kevin looking after the family farm for a time.

He said family continues to be an extremely important part of his life and he has three children, Llinos, 18, Carwyn, 16, and Emyr, 14.

He has not forgotten his time on the streets and does his bit for homeless charities across the country.

In Carmarthenshire, he takes an active role in helping the Wallwich housing charity.

He has provided more than 300 homes for the homeless.

“It is a win, win situation and I get to help people.

“It is more difficult than a standard rental, but I’m giving something back.”

The first time many will have heard of Kevin was when he appeared on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire.

It saw him visit Barnstaple in North Devon, which has a high level of homelessness.

As part of the show Kevin gifted £20,000 to an outreach project for the homeless.

“I support the homeless, especially after what happened to me.

“Most people have got a story and there is a good reason why they are there.”

The dad-of-three is also an ambassador of the Make A Wish foundation and has gifted more than £500,000 to the cause over the past four years.

Kevin said he wanted to get involved in the charity because of his sister’s death and his personal experience of bereavement.

As well as his property business he now spends a lot of time travelling the world and speaking at conferences and seminars.

Just this month he shared a stage with former American president Bill Clinton in London, after helping to raise money for the Clinton Foundation.

“I’ve been told I’m a very good speaker and have found myself in these great situations.

“It is a great feeling, to have people I used to look up to and now to be rubbing shoulders with them.”

The social entrepreneur is also helping others get into business and is supporting the Entrepreneurship Academy Wales.

Kevin also said he likes people to know he’s Welsh.

“I speak Welsh and it is nice to say I’m Welsh.

“And I’m proud I’m from Carmarthenshire.”