Paul Haggis, small business(Aaron Harris.CP Photo)

Director Paul Haggis, left, smiles as actor Matt Dillon looks on during a press conference for "Crash" at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Sept. 11, 2004. Haggis spent his youth working for his dad's construction company.

At the top of the world's model corporations are some of today's best, most seasoned business minds.

But they weren't always that way. Just as a baseball player must work his way through the minor leagues, CEOs and presidents often must earn their stripes in small businesses first — learning the ropes in a cubicle before they can rule in a boardroom. Here are the humble, small business beginnings of some of the world's top businesspeople.

*All figures in USD.

* Bing: Steps to starting a small business