By Ram Khatry I 31 May 2019
Ever since they debuted in the BRW Rich List 2009, Shesh Ghale and Jamuna Gurung have never stopped amazing and inspiring members of the Nepalese diaspora in Australia as well as across the world.
Merely two months ago, The Australian‘s inaugural rich list had placed the Melbourne couple at the 85th and 86th positions among the wealthiest in Australia. The List, had put their net worth at $1.1 billion.
It turns out the Nepal-born billionaires were even richer and better-positioned than that, shows The Australian Financial Review’s Rich List 2019 published today.
The AFR has placed the education and property entrepreneurs at the 78th position in its list of 200 richest Australians – seven positions up compared to the list published by The Australian back in March. The AFR Rich List, which has been Australia’s very own rich list since 1984, has put their net worth at $1.18 billion.
Introducing the inspirational couple who work off the iconic Argus Building in Melbourne, the Australian Financial Review highlighted their ability to foresee business opportunities and then develop and execute projects to tap those opportunities.
“Foreseeing trends was how these Nepalese migrants built their fortune; their Melbourne Institute of Technology predicted demand for IT and software development skills, and turned over $66.3 million in the year to June 30, 2018 (up from $52.4 million the year before), with net profit of $16.1 million and net assets of $202.7 million, ” the AFR citation on Mr and Mrs Ghale, considered among the most successful education entrepreneurs in Australia, reads.
The Nepal-born husband and wife team founded the Melbourne Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2006. It has campuses both in Melbourne and Sydney CBD. Registered with the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency as a higher education provider, MIT offers degrees in business, accounting, management, marketing, IT and telecommunications engineering.
The couple also have strong property holdings built on the back of their discerning business acumen. As suggested by the AFR, Shesh Ghale and Jamuna Gurung know when to seize the opportunity and when to let it go. It is this insight that made them buy the Argus Building which was lying vacant for over fifty years.
In 2010, Mr Ghale bought the Argus Building from La Trobe University for $15 million but pumped some $60 million into the heritage building to give it a new life. It was the home of The Argus newspaper until it was shut down in 1957. Following renovation and regeneration, the iconic and historic building finally got a rebirth as the headquarters of Mr and Mrs Ghales’ business empire in 2014.
BRW Rich 200 List had reported their joint portfolio at $647 million in 2017. Within a year, the former global president of the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) and his better-half added $229 million to be ranked as Australia’s 81st richest worth $876 million.
Mr and Mrs Ghale, who have called Australia home for nearly two and half decades, are originally from Nepal’s mountainous region known for its picturesque trekking routes.
In the aftermath of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Mr and Mrs Ghale were closely involved in the rebuilding efforts of their devastated country of origin due to which they had to be away from their Melbourne office for extended periods of time. Despite the challenges, they continued to visit Laprak Village in Gorkha district, not far from the ground zero of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that claimed thousands of lives.
An ambitious project to build 573 homes for survivors of the 7.8 magnitude Nepal earthquake was envisioned and spearheaded by Mr Ghale when he was the president of the Non-Resident Nepali Association.
With $15.57 billion, packaging and paper tycoon Anthony Pratt and family lead the AFR Rich List this year while Hancock Prospecting’s Gina Rinehart has been ranked second worth $13.81 billion.