Who is Guy Laliberté?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Canadian Guy Laliberté is a man of many talents--and a lot of cash. Essentially he is an entrepreneur who has spent his life working hard at the things he loves and is passionate about. His career is marked by great diversity as well as many ups and downs, part of the typical pattern of a successful entrepreneur.

What he is perhaps best known for today is his work in the live entertainment industry, one of the biggest in the world. Guy Laliberté is the co-founder of Cirque du Soleil. In 1984 he began the circus-like group with a band of street performers (of which he was one), funded in part by the Canadian government.

In 1985, Cirque du Soleil became a for-profit group, and since 2000 Laliberté has been the majority partner. In 2008 he sold just 20% of this company to several companies in Dubai for $600 million. Laliberté's company also produces other live entertainment shows, such as "One," a Las Vegas show inspired by Michael Jackson. Profits for his companies endeavors are soaring.

Guy Laliberté's interest in live entertainment began early, after a visit to the circus. In fact, he spent many of his early years as a true street performer. He was part of the group of buskers who later became the foundation of Cirque du Soleil. He played the accordion and harmonica as a street performer.

This Canadian has many other interests, as well. He is a poker player and has won several high-stakes poker events. He has also hosted several such events as fundraisers for his charitable organization One Drop Foundation. He and his organization are committed to fighting world hunger by providing access to water to everyone. He is funding the project with $100 million over a 25-year period.

Guy Laliberté is also the first Canadian space tourist. He took the trip for social reasons, to promote awareness for his foundation and the need for fresh, clean drinking water for everyone. He sold a book comprised of photographs from his space trip, and all the proceeds are going to One Drop Foundation.

He has a net worth of $2.62 billion. Forbes has ranked Guy Laliberté as the 11th wealthiest Canadian and the 459th richest man in the world. 

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laurto | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Guy Laliberté is a Canadian entrepreneur and is the CEO and founder of Cirque du Soleil. He is incredibly wealthy, with an estimated net work of $2.6 billion. He started out busking as an accordion player and founded the circus in 1984. 

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Jyotsana | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Guy Laliberte is a Canadian entrepreneur, philanthropist, space tourist, poker, co-founder and the current CEO of Cirque du Soleil. 

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