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30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time

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Famous Entrepreneurs Who Changed The World

Have you ever said…

“I want to be the next Bill Gates,” or “I want to be like Oprah Winfrey.”

Famous entrepreneurs like Bill and Oprah have been role models to many.

They and famous successful entrepreneurs like them have inspired Millions!

Perhaps they inspired you?

famous entrepreneurs, successful business leaders

Top 30 Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time

[last updated June 16th 2020]

These famous entrepreneurs are persistent.

They succeeded because of their focus and determination.

It was not “all about the money”.

They wanted to leave a positive legacy.

They created products and services that would make the world a better place.

Who is your top entrepreneurial influence?

For me it is Sir Richard Branson.

His adventurous entrepreneurial spirit appeals to a lot of us.

Andrew Carnegie would be a close second.

A remarkable entrepreneur who attained huge success from humble beginnings.

Is there an influential entrepreneur whom we missed of this list?

~ You can email us your recommendations for other influential entrepreneurs to consider here.

#1 Andrew Carnegie

andrew carnegie 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Age: 83yrs (Died: 11th August 1919)

Birth Place: Dunfermline, Scotland.

Industry: Steel

Influence: Pioneered many manufacturing processes.

Net Worth: About $380 million. [around $309 billion by today’s standards.]

Website: carnegie.org

Why this historical entrepreneur made the list…

Andrew Carnegie was born into a typical lower-class family in Scotland and lived in a weaver’s cottage; a tiny house.

The main room served not only as the living quarters but also the dining room and the bedroom for the whole family.

His family were suffering from near starvation and poverty when William; his father emigrated the family to Allegheny, Pennsylvania in the USA. The area in which they lived was very poor but better than their previous community in Fife.

His first job was that of a bobbin boy, paid $1.20-a-week, where he helped change spools for 12hrs each day. Feeling this wasn’t the career for him, he became a telegraph messenger for $2.50 per week. This job came with a couple of perks too, such as gaining free entry to the local theater. He soon progressed to $4.00 per week at the age of 18yrs and through hard work and rapid development Andrew climbed swiftly through the ranks. Eventually he became an investor, investing the money he had saved over the years into Adams Express Company, a messenger service.

Carnegie later received shares in a car business after helping to safeguard the shares of another business for a friend; he used this to his advantage and reinvested all his money into the railway industry. During the civil war Carnegie made a fortune through investments he had made; one of which had him investing $40,000 of his own money into Story Farm; a creek rich in oil. By the end of the year the investment had paid off in dividends to the tidy sum of $1 million, with more profits coming in from the petrol and oil goods.

To try to make the world in some way better than you found it is to have a noble motive in life.

Andrew Carnegie

After the civil war had finished Carnegie gave $40,000 to help build a library in his native Dunfermline, he also gave $50,000 of his money to a hospital college to help teach more nurses and save more lives.

Now an investor in both oil and steel, Carnegie was becoming very wealthy, and wrote his first book, which sold over 40,000 copies. His writing style and intelligence helped Carnegie become known as a great author and journalist, which helped him earn another hefty fortune in doing so.

By 188 Carnegie was worth more than $20 million and famously offered $20,000,000 to buy the Philippines from Spain to allow them independence.

Upon retiring in at the age of 66 as the world’s richest man, Andrew Carnegie became a philanthropist. He believed in the “Gospel of Wealth,” which meant that wealthy people were morally obligated to give their money back to others in society.

The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.

~ Andrew Carnegie – The Gospel of Wealth

By the time of his death in 1919, Carnegie had become famous for his investments, his oil, his writings and his entrepreneurial streak. According to the Carnegie Corporation, Carnegie’s personal peak wealth was about $380 million, or around $309 billion by today’s standard.

Andrew Carnegie is perhaps the most influential philanthropist in history.

He did manage to give most of his money away (some estimate 95% of it) – building some 2,811 lending libraries around the world and help found one of the world’s great research universities.

Recommended Autobiography: The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and the Gospel of Wealth

Entrepreneurs who live better, more productive, entrepreneurial lives read a lot. Make sure to check out these The Top 20 Books Entrepreneurs Should Read.

#2 Steve Jobs

steve jobs 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011

Birth Place: San Francisco, California, USA

Industry: computer technology, computer science

Influence: Advancement in Computers and Media Devices

Net Worth: $6.1 billion

Website: www.apple.com

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

Steve jobs, you either love him or hate him but there’s one thing that is certain; you will definitely know who is. One thing that you might not know him about him is that he’s adopted, but that didn’t stop him becoming one the most successful people in the world and why should it.

When Jobs graduated from high school in 1972, one of his first jobs out of high school was as a technician for the computer company Atari. This was possibly a big turning point for Steve.

In 1974, the same year Jobs first worked with Atari, jobs went into business with his old friend Steve Wozniak. Jobs had convinced Steve Wozniak that it would be a good idea to assemble computers and sell them on for a profit. It seemed to decent idea as they soon started making a profit from the computers they were making, and on April 1, 1976 Apple Computer company was founded as a partnership with Steven jobs and Steve Wozniak as the co-founders.

Within just 4 years of the Apple Computer Company being founded, Apple became a publicly traded corporation, and in 1983 jobs lured John Scully away from the Pepsi-Cola company. Jobs went on in leaps and bounds, and in 1984 on January 26th jobs introduced the first Apple Macintosh. It wasn’t all pleasantries, though; in May 1985, following an internal power struggle between the board of directors, Jobs lost control of the Apple computer company and was forced out; although he did still have shares in the business.

Steve Jobs then formed another company – NeXT computers which did well. Then in 1986 he bought “The Graphics Group” which was later named Pixar Animation, for $10 million.

Some time later, in 1996, Apple computers company bought the NeXT company for approximately $429 million, bringing Steve jobs back to Apple as the company’s interim CEO. In 2000 Apple announced publicly that Steve Jobs was to become the permanent CEO of the company.

One of my favorite Steve Jobs quotes is this one that he made, aged 33. It seems a perfect question to ask oneself, no matter what age you are.

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself:

‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’

And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days
in a row, I know I need to change something.

~ Steve Jobs

In 2007 Apple changed its name to Apple Inc. On a side note In January 2006 jobs announced the Disney had purchased Pixar in an-all stock transaction; worth approximately $7.4 billion, so as you can see Steve Jobs did very well for himself.

Recommended Biography: Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

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#3 Henry Ford

henry ford2 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Age: 83yrs (Died April 7th 1947)

Birth Place: Greenfield Township, Dearborn, Michighan, USA

Industry: Auto-motive manufacturer

Influence: Modern Transport Pioneer

Net Worth: $1.1 billion

Website: www.thehenryford.org

Why this historical entrepreneur made the list…

Henry Ford,  one of the few men that made mainstream automobiles a reality. He was born into a family of farmers who originated from England and Ireland. Not the wealthiest of families, but not poverty-stricken either.

Henry Ford was a dyslexic entrepreneur. It is said that because of this, he would repeat certain actions over and over, until he mastered them.

In his teenage years, his father had given him a timepiece which he later took to pieces just to see if he could piece it together again successfully, which he did. He then did the same with other peoples timepieces and eventually he repaired them too. Henry was also a sufferer of Dyslexia, and although this was a hurdle it was not a reason to give up.

He completed an apprenticeship with James F. Flower & Bros, and also with the Detroit Dry Dock Company. In 1891 he met with Thomas Edison, who liked his concept of an auto-mobile, so he allowed him to use his warehouses to manufacturer two vehicles. Ford was grateful but later built his own company so he could build the cars on his own terms backed by William H. Murphy and in 1899 he founded the Detroit Automobile Company.

This was short lived, however, as the vehicles produced lacked the quality and precision Ford wanted and were horribly expensive. The business went under, but it didn’t stop him. Ford went on to build the Cadillac Automobile company.

After almost failing a second time because of lack of sales and high debts, more partners came into the business and the name was changed to the Ford Motor Company. The Ford Motor Company generated around 156 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2019.

Recommended Reading: The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s Ten-Year Road Trip

#4 Mark Zuckerberg

mark zuckerberg8701 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born May 14, 1984

Birth Place: White Plains, New York, USA

Industry: Social Media Mogul

Influence: Revolutionized Online Social Media and Networking

Net Worth: About $68 billion (August 2019)

Website: www.Facebook.com

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

Mark Zuckerberg, is known for co-founding Facebook, Inc. and serves as its chairman, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder.

Not only is he one of the richest men on the planet, he’s had his business story portrayed by the Hollywood giants in a movie entitled the Social Network.

Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his dormitory room, on 4 February 2004, whilst attending Harvard University.

It has been rumored, that the inspiration for Facebook came from his former high school the Phillips Exeter Academy which had its own student directory known as “The Photo Address Book” which the students nicknamed the Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg was joined by fellow Harvard university students Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes as he wanted to evolve the Facebook website.

I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.

– Mark Zuckerberg

To begin with, Facebook wasn’t available to everybody and because of this, competitors such as; MySpace and Bebo seemed to be the clear winners in terms of social networking.

However, that soon changed when Zuckerberg and the co-founders of Facebook dropped out of the Harvard University in a bid to make Facebook succeed.

By then the 2004 Facebook had received over 1 million users for the website.

In 2005, the capital venture firm Accel partners invested $12.7 million into the business to help them evolve further.

Soon Facebook was being approached by massive brands and companies who wanted to buy out Zuckerberg. However, we know that Zuckerberg didn’t sell Facebook, and he still is CEO of it although his some of his venture partners have moved on.

According to Forbes magazine, Zuckerberg is worth approximately $68 billion (August 2019).

Recommended Reading: Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg has forever changed the way we share ideas, interact with friends, and present ourselves to the world – here is 9 Ways You Can Be More Like Mark Zuckerberg.

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#5 Jeff Bezos

bezos1 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born 12 January 1964

Birth Place: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Industry: online retail

Influence: Revolutionized E-Commerce

Net Worth: $117.2 billion (April 2020)

Website: www.Amazon.com

Why Jeff Bezos made the list…

Jeff Bezos was born in 1964 and is the founder of the president and the chief executive officer and the Chairman of the board for one of the most popular and well-known websites/e-commerce sites in the world, Amazon.com. He is also according to Forbes the richest Billionaire in the world.

Jeff Bezos mother was just a teenage girl when he was born in Albuquerque New Mexico, she married his father which lasted only one year and when Jeff was just five years old; she remarried the man he recalls his father – Miguel Bezos.

They moved to Texas, and Miguel became an engineer for Exxon. Jeff Bezos was very interested in scientific projects at an early age and got into a lot of trouble by reading up small electric alarms to keep his siblings out of his bedroom. He persuaded his parents to convert their garage into his own personal laboratory, which suited him just fine.

If you double the number of experiments you do per year you’re going to double your inventiveness.

– Jeff Bezos

He was was highly regarded through his school and college years and was awarded an honorary doctorate in science and technology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008.

After finally graduating from Princeton University, Jeff Bezos decided he wanted to work in computer science field and began working on Wall Street.

In 1994 after having an idea on a cross-country trip from New York to Seattle Jeff Bezos came up with a business plan for what would be called, Amazon.

He got some backing and started Internet business that very year and as we know it is now one of the most successful e-commerce sites in the world. Amazon.com has a revenue of around $25 billion.

Not bad, for an idea he came up with in the back of a car on a road trip.

2020 Update: According to some reports, Jeff Bezos’s net worth has grown by 34% on average over the last five years. This could see him become the world’s first trillionaire by 2026, when he will be aged 62.

Recommended Reading…

Think Like Amazon: 50 1/2 Ideas to Become a Digital Leader

[“Reading this book is like having Jeff Bezos advise me.” – Eric Martinez, Founder and CEO of Modjoul]

Special Feature: The Ultimate Billionaires List!

I enjoy creating lists of top entrepreneurs, bloggers etc – and we have our own Internet Entrepreneurs Rich List – but the list I look forward to reading most each year is Forbes annual list of the world’s billionaires.

influential entrepreneurs

2020 – 34th annual Forbes list of the world’s billionaires

34th annual Forbes list of the world's billionaires

influential entrepreneurs

Interesting side note:

Three members of Walton family occupy 3 of the Top 10 positions – and their combined wealth exceeds the No1 position.

The Walton family collective fortune makes them the richest family in the United States of America and the richest non-royal family in the world. The annual Sunday Times Rich List indicated the Walton family’s wealth at $201.4 billion USD in October 2019.

#6 William “Bill” Gates

Bill Gates 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born October 28, 1955

Birth Place: Seattle, Washington, USA

Industry: Information Technology, Computer Science

Influence: Changed the Personal Computer Forever

Net Worth: over $98 billion

Website: www.gatesfoundation.org

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

Bill Gates, the second richest Billionaire on the planet, one of the most recognized names in the world, as much a celebrity as the pop stars and movie stars because of his high public profile.

Bill has always been in the limelight since he began his career way back, aged 13yrs. This is when Bill, Paul Allen and some others from high-school started using computers for the first time. The DEC PDP-10 was one of those early computers.

Bill, Allen and their friends studied the inner workings and making notes of coding language and tried to decipher it to understand how a computer worked.

They were eventually banned from the DEC PDP-10 after they were caught exploiting code “bugs” which allowed them to extend the time they had been allocated on the machine.

In 1973, after completing high-school with a 1600 (top score) in his SAT’s, he enrolled at the University of Harvard. While studying at Harvard Bill made a new friend in Steve Ballmer. They have continued to be friends to this day and Ballmer took over as CEO of Microsoft upon Gate’s early retirement.

After spending much of his study time at the helm of the University’s computer systems, Bill left Harvard to start his own business. This was partly because of the launch of the Altair 8800, which used Intel’s new cpu 8080. This had gotten Bill excited by the prospects of what he could do with this new technology.

Many people call Bill Gates a college drop-out, or that he failed college, this is not true at all; it was a decision he made himself; he did not fail or give in he saw an opportunity the same as many entrepreneurs and he took a huge leap of faith that eventually paid off.

Having gained interest from MIT’s director Bill and Allen, created an emulator that ran on a microcomputer to simulate a computer they had no access to (but had said they had) to show to Ed Roberts (MIT). They received a deal from MIT and began working on their new business in 1975 with the company name “Micro-Soft” although in 1976 they changed it to Microsoft, dropping the hyphen.

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.

~ Bill Gates

Throughout the years Bill and Allen made some amazing advancements in computer technology and partnered with some massive businesses to gain the capital they needed to start the manufacturing of their own products and software. IBM approached Microsoft in 1980 asking for them to develop code for their BASIC (computer language) computer the IBM PC, MS DOS was created and this made Microsoft a big player in the industry overnight. In 1985, a decade after beginning their business, they launched the first ever copy of MS Windows.

As we know Microsoft became the standard in computer technology and has now become the largest computer information and technology business in the world. Bill Gates have a personal fortune of around $98 Billion which he uses to help very worthy causes and charities; including his own, the Gates Foundation.

Recommended Biography: Bill Gates: A Biography

#7 Larry Page

larry page 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born March 26, 1973

Birth Place: East Lansing, Michigan, USA

Industry: I.T entrepreneur, Computer Science

Influence: Revolutionized Online Searching and Media

Net Worth: $58.3 billion (2020)

Wikipedia Entry

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

Co-Founder of one of the most recognized search engine in the world: Google.

It’s no wonder why Larry became interested and later an entrepreneur within the computer science industry.

His parents were both computer science professors at the University of Michigan. Being of quite a wealthy background, Larry was a very lucky person. He attended the Montessori Radmoor School (formerly the Okemos Montessori School) and later completed a degree in the science of computer engineering (BA Honors Degree) and completing a Masters Degree in Computer Science from Stanford University.

In 1995 Larry met Sergey Brin, who was a fellow Stanford student. They became close friends and eventually went into business together in 1996, forming the company Google Incorporated. Larry alongside his partner Brin ran Google Inc. as co-presidents of the company until hiring the CEO Eric Schmidt.

Larry and Brin got their first financial backing from Andy Bechtolsheim, one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems, with the sum of $100,000. It was here that Page’s “Web Crawler” was soon to become the search engine we know today.

Starting from his Stanford University home page, the web crawler searched the internet for web pages, with the home page being the only starting point. To assess the importance of the information which the Web Crawler had found; Page and Brin created a complex algorithm which the late named PageRank.

In 1999, just three years since they went into business, Larry and Brin, after being hounded by investors,  accepted $25 million investment from Kliener Perkins Caufield and Sequoia Capital.

By 2001 Google, now global; was producing profits of over $100 million, and by 2003 had raised those profits to $960 million a massive amount growth in just two years!

In 2020, Google is worth $632 billion or there abouts.

Google Parent Company: Alphabet Passes $1 Trillion In Market Value

#8 Sergey Brin

sergey brin 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born: August 21, 1973

Birth Place: Moscow, Russia

Industry: I.T , Computer Science

Influence: Revolutionized Online Searching and Media

Net Worth: $56.2 billion (2020)

Wikipedia Entry

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

As you’ll already know (at least if you read about Larry Page, above) Sergey Brin is one of the co-founders of Google Inc.

Brin immigrated to the United States of America with his family aged just 6yrs old, and although he is both Russian in terms of ethnicity and background, he is a citizen of America, with his nationality set as American.

His grandfather and his father both had studied mathematics in the past and Sergey was also keen on the topic, more than likely after seeing his father and grandfather work on various equations and projects as a child.

He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in mathematics and computer science. He then began studying at Stanford University for a PH.D in computer science, a topic Sergey was keen to explore further. It was at Stanford that Sergey met Larry Page, another student of computer science.

Sergey and Larry worked together, and even though they had relatively mediocre computer systems available, they frantically worked at developing new search engine designs and algorithms.

They started doing this basically because they wanted to cause disruption to the Stanford online website infrastructure, but in doing so, they had masterfully created a search engine with massive potential, and all by accident.

They upped their game and the inner workings of the code further and further; perfecting the algorithms and creating the unique PageRank system.

The pair suspended their studies and went on to co-found the company Google Inc. the same Google which we love and hate today.

Recommended Books on Entrepreneurship: Top 20 Books Entrepreneurs Should Read

#9 Sir Richard Branson

richard branson1 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born: 18 July 1950

Birth Place: Blackheath, London, England, UK

Industry: British industrialist

Influence: Music, Travel, Charity

Net worth?: ?US$4.4 billion (April 2020)

Website: www.virgin.co.uk

Why they made the list…

Richard Branson is a well-known British industrialist, probably best known for his company the Virgin Group, which holds over 360 different companies.

Richard Branson started his education at Scaitcliffe school in 1963 continued by his attendance at Stowe School in 1965. In 1966 Branson started his first successful business venture; a Student Magazine.

In 1967 Branson started “The Student Advisory Centre” which was a great success. (It advised on topics ranging from sexuality to health, exams to relationships) In many ways it was a precursor to the foundation, Virgin Unite.

In 1970, Branson created another company; which was a mail-order retail business. Its first major success came when Mike Oldfield signed the Virgin Group and had a record which went platinum quickly.

Following the success of Mike Oldfield, more bands signed with the Virgin Group, including The Sex Pistols, which was one of the biggest.

You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.

Richard Branson

In 1984 Richard Branson formed the Virgin Atlantic Airways company, or as we know today, virgin Airways; which has been a great success just like many of his previous companies before it.

Probably one of Branson’s most notorious business ventures to date is Virgin Galactic, which is aiming to take passengers into space, which he calls space tourism.

The Virgin Galactic company according to rumor will license the technology behind the so-called spaceship one which is being funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Burt Rutan who is an American engineer well-known for his aeronautical work.

Sir Richard Branson is one of the greatest entrepreneurs the UK has ever produced. Without him a lot of things wouldn’t be how they are today, such as the music we listen to, the charities we support, and quite possibly soon space travel.

My favorite Richard Branson book: Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way

#10 Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Edison1 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931

Birth Place: Milan, Ohio, USA

Industry: Science

Influence: His Inventions Changed the World

Net worth: $12,000,000

Wikipedia Page | Website: www.thomasedison.com

Why this historical entrepreneur made the list…

I felt obligated to add Thomas Edison to this list due to his motivation and persistence, which makes him a true entrepreneur, even after thousands of failures.

Although Thomas didn’t have a terrible upbringing in terms of the money sense, he was a poorly child. Ill a lot of his early life, he suffered from a severe ear infection that rendered him deaf in one of his ears, although some say he was deaf in both. He also developed scarlet fever as a boy, nearly dying because of it.

After becoming a minor celebrity for saving a toddler from being hit by a train, Thomas was offered a job as telegraph operator.

Thomas created thousands of inventions and patents, failing a lot more times than succeeding. However, his first taste of glory came when he developed the tinfoil phonograph. After working as a telegraph operator, he wanted to create a way of making a telegraph transmitter to work in a more efficient way. He did this by realising that it sounded very similar to spoken words when the tape from the machine was played at a fast pace.

Developing his idea further he recorded a message through this means creating his first successful invention that lead the way for many more. Thomas Edison was a very patient and passionate man, motivated by success he tried and failed many times before getting some of his inventions to work. Some of his inventions we still use today, and many of them changed the world.

Read more about Thomas Alva Edison: Edison – a biography

This staggering new biography, portrays the unknown Edison—the philosopher, the futurist, the chemist, the botanist, the wartime defense adviser and founder of nearly 250 companies.

Edison famous entrepreneur

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edmund Morris comes a revelatory new biography of Thomas Alva Edison, the most prolific genius in American history.

# 11 Ariana Huffington

ariana huffington 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born: 15 July 1950

Birth Place: Athens, Greece
Industry: Blogging Columnist and Author

Influence: A Pioneer in Blogging and Online News

Net Worth: Arianna Huffington has an estimated net worth of $60 million

Website: www.HuffingtonPost.com

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

Arianna Huffington has become one of the most influential in blogging.

Some of you may not know this, but she is also an off-line author, writing a biography of Maria Callas in 1981 and a biography about Picasso eight years later in 1989.

She became better known in the early 90s because of her support for conservative causes during her ex-husband’s unsuccessful bid for the Senate in (1994).

She later co-founded the Huffington Post with Ken Lerer and Jonah Peretti.

One of the greatest skills of leadership is being unflappable. Anytime you do anything in the world; there’s going to be criticism.

– Arianna Huffington

The website provides a mass of valuable information regarding politics, business, lifestyle, and environmental causes and media and entertainment news.

In 2000 they launched their very first local versions of The Huffington Post called HuffPost Chicago, and soon afterwards came New York, Denver and Los Angeles versions.

Besides writing articles for the blog herself, she also has the help from many of her famous supporters such as Rosie O’Donnell and Harry Shearer.

She has also won many awards through the Huffington post; such as winning the People’s Voice Award in the 2010 webby awards, she also won the 2006 and 2007 webby award for best politics blog and in 2009 the blog was named second in the best 25 blogs of 2009 in Time magazine.

#12 Matthew Boulton

Matthew Boulton Carl Frederik von Breda 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time

Age: 80yrs (Died: 17th August 1809)

Birth Place: Birmingham, West Midlands UK

Industry: Entrepreneurial Manufacturer

Influence: Pioneered many manufacturing processes.

Net Worth: Unknown

Wikipedia Entry

Why this historical entrepreneur made the list…

Matthew Boulton was a pioneer in manufacturing. He was not born into wealthy circumstances; his father was a toy maker at the time of his birth.

Matthew attended a local school and upon leaving; he joined his father’s business. At the age of 21yrs Matthew married Mary Robinson, the daughter of a wealthy Mercer (Mercer; a silk, linen and fustian textile merchant).

Eventually he took charge of his father’s business (1757). When his father died, he took an interest in precious metals; leaving the toy trade behind.

With a new trade under his belt, Matthew traveled throughout the United Kingdom, selling his goods wherever he could.

After a short time he negotiated with a highly regarded friend to present a sword to Prince Edward as a gift, however it was Prince Edward’s older brother; Prince George III, the heir to the throne of England and later the King of England, that was truly interested in the gift.

In 1761, after using most of his wealth which had accumulated from his two marriages, and the inheritance he received from his father, he bought a larger property for his growing business.

That property was Soho House, a very large premises in Staffordshire, England. He began production at Soho and introduced modern production methods and pioneered an “insurance scheme” for his workers.

He became widely known for his perfectionist characteristics and his many technological advancements within manufacturing processes.

Soho House was a must visit place for the rich and powerful and he regularly had people of royal stature coming to stay with him so they could see and learn more about his work and techniques.

Later in life Matthew became infatuated with science and astronomy. He became well known for this work. He was made the Sheriff of Staffordshire before his death in 1809.

By the time he died, Matthew had become one of the wealthiest and most pioneering manufacturers and entrepreneurs in the UK. Quite the achievement for someone who started out as the son of a humble toy maker.

Recommended Entrepreneurial Reading:

=> 15 Success Habits you must adopt to live the life of your dreams

=> 21 Ways Successful Entrepreneurs Think Differently

#13 Peter Jones

peterjones 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born 18 March 1966

Birth Place: Maidenhead, Berks, United Kingdom

Industry: Telecommunications

Influence: Investing in young entrepreneurs

Net Worth: £485 million (2019)

Website: www.peterjones.tv

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

Peter Jones CBE is probably best known by the public for his role on Dragon’s Den, a British television programme which is broadcast on the BBC.

He is a British entrepreneur whose main business dealings have been within the mobile telecommunication, media and leisure industries.

We know him in the USA for his television programme the American Inventor, on which he judges businesses in an almost X-factor style show for business.

His first business venture to earn him money was a tennis academy, which he set up aged 16.

His second and also successful business venture was different, in that it was a technological company that manufactured PCs. However, the business went bankrupt after failing to receive payment from his customers.

This led to him having to give up his three-bedroom house and his cars, forcing him to move back in with his parents.

He then joined the company Siemens Nixdorf, and at 20 years of age he became the youngest ever head of a business unit in United Kingdom. After leaving Siemens Nixdorf he worked within the telecommunications industry and after a year of hard saving he set up his next business venture which was Phones International Group.

Times were obviously hard in the beginning as he has stated he had to sleep on the office floor until his business grew enough for him to find somewhere suitable to live. His business became successful and is revenue totalled nearly £14 million by the end of his first year which more than doubled in his second year when it nearly reached £45 million.

Peter James undoubtedly brought telecommunications to new heights and new levels within United Kingdom, and in doing so has made brave leaps of faith within business proving to be a true entrepreneur. ?

Since starting his second business venture he has been part of many other investments through the Dragon’s Den programme on the BBC with most notable ones probably being; Reggae Reggae Sauce, Visual Talent, and Worthenshaws (now known as Kristy’s).

# 14 Penny Streeter

Penny Streeter 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born 1 August 1967

Birth Place: Zimbabwe

Industry: Recruitment

Influence: Creating Employment Opportunities

Net Worth: £208 million

Website: www.a24group.com

Why Penny Streeter made the list…

Penny Streeter is not one of the better know entrepreneurs – but her story of success is one that inspires me.

After becoming homeless when she lost her job and her first marriage broke down, Penny Streeter turned her life around and became a successful businesswoman, now worth £208 million.

Penny Streeter was born in 1967, in Zimbabwe, and later attended the Alberton High school in Johannesburg, where she graduated in 1983. She then left South Africa and moved to the UK where she launched a recruitment business.

Unfortunately, in 1989 she was left penniless and homeless after the business failed and she went through a divorce.

But she didn’t let that hold her back.

Six years later in 1995, after getting out of the terrible situation she was in previously, she set up business again, confident that this time she could be successful.

Her confidence and passion was rewarded when she launched a venture called Ambition 24hours. This was partially funded by working evenings as a party entertainer.

Ambition 24Hours turned out to be a significant success – specializing in recruitment of temporary staff to fulfill the need in sectors such as nursing, social workers, teachers, lecturers and carers.

In 2004 she made an £11 million investment plan in South Africa, launching a nursing agency. Just two years later in 2006 the company made its first major acquisition; making it the largest agency for temporary nursing personnel.

Her company is currently expanding in the UK and South Africa.

Recommended Books for Entrepreneurs: Top 20 Books Entrepreneurs Should Read

#15 Charles Kemmons Wilson

0cmh419s 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time January 5, 1913 – February 12, 2003

Birth Place: Osceola, Kansas, USA

Industry: Hotelier

Net Worth: $100 million

Website: holidayinn.com

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

Charles Kemmons Wilson is best known for his commitment and passion for the hotelier business.

Supposedly, Charles came up for his idea of his business venture after a road trip brought to his attention the fact that many of the roadside motels were definitely not up to scratch in both quality and consistency for the era.

He became a hotelier; he wanted to make hotels and motels; more friendly, consistent, of a higher quality, and be somewhere that people really enjoy coming back to again and again.

He and his business partner Wallace E. Johnson named the business Holiday Inn of America, rumored to have come from one of his architects as a joke referring to the Bing Crosby movie.

In 1957 Wilson franchised chain, and it grew dramatically. By 1958 Wilson and Johnson had managed to create 50 different Holiday Inns all across the country and by the following year that had double to 100.

Within five years the number of Holiday Inns had reached a level of 500 (1964). ?

Remarkably Wilson had reached the magic number 1000 different Holiday Inn’s across the country by 1968, just over a decade from starting a business from scratch.

Wilson created some innovative ways to leverage the market, which puts a lot of pressure financially on traditional hotels and its bigger competitors such as Howard Johnson’s, Best Western, and even the Ramada Inn Company.

There were 1400 holiday Inn hotels across the world by 1972, which funnily enough was the same year that Charles Wilson appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

In 1979 Charles Wilson retired from the hotelier business, and in doing so retire and The Holiday Inn Corporation (Holiday Corporation), was taken over by the UK-based company Bass PLC.

However, it wasn’t until 1990 that Charles Wilson sold the rest of his shares to Bass PLC and that company gained full control became known worldwide.

#16 Simon Nixon

simon nixon 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born August 1967

Birth Place: Chester, Wales, UK

Industry: Financial

Influence: Revolutionized Online Financial Systems

Net worth: 1.1 billion USD (2020)

Website: www.moneysupermarket.com

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

Simon Nixon is one of those entrepreneurs that likes to keep his cards close to his chest, and his personal life private. Therefore, until 2008, there wasn’t much information on Simon Nixon.

If you don’t already know who he is, Simon Nixon is best known as the man who founded Money Supermarket.

Moneysupermarket.com Group PLC is a British price comparison website-based business specialising in financial services. The website enables consumers to compare prices on a range of products, including energy car insurance, home insurance, travel insurance, mortgages, credit cards and loans.

Simon Nixon established the business in 1993 while still a student at the Nottingham University in the United Kingdom.

A contact – Duncan Cameron, who was also an off-line mortgage adviser, liked the idea and invested a little in Simon Nixon’s idea.

In 1999 Nixon took the business online, providing online mortgage information and expanding to provide services within the credit card and personal loans sector.

With a combination of brilliant and refreshing customer service the business grew beyond his wildest dreams and in 2003 he opened up another website under the money supermarket brand called insuresupermarket.com

Then in 2004 he launched travelsupermarket.com.

The business was growing and in 2007 Duncan Cameron had sold his share of 47% which Simon Nixon bought for approximately £162 million.

In the same year, the company listed on the London stock exchange and has now grown into on of the UK’s best know businesses – famous in part for their amusing TV commercials, staring among others comedian Omid Djalili.

#17 Anita Roddick

Anita Roddick 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Age: 64 yrs (Died September 10, 2007)

Birth Place: Littlehampton, UK

Industry: cosmetics

Influence: Green Product Pioneer.

Net Worth: $1.03 billion

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

Dame Anita Roddick created The Body Shop in 1976 with just 15 products that she had sourced herself from around the world.
Anita had traveled extensively before opening up her business and with her husband and two girls in tow she set off to create something special.

Unlike today, it was a massive task of get shoppers to part with money for “Greener” products. Fortunately, with motivation, a dollop of passion and a pinch of luck, Anita succeeded. ?

Soon, she opened another store, and another, and another. The Body Shop just seemed to grow and grow.

Anita had built her empire to a whopping 1,980 The Body Shop stores, with over 75 million customers worldwide in 50 different countries by 2003 when she was then bought out in a very controversial deal with L’Oreal.

It was controversial due to The Body Shop not using ANY products tested on animals, as opposed to L’Oreals company, which did.

The deal made her £652.3 million ($1.03 billion) better off. A well-deserved reward for her many years of service to “green consumerism”.

#18 Donald Trump

Donald Trump jpg 200x200 crop upscale q851 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born 14 June 1946 (age 73 years)

Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA

Industry: Real Estate

Influence: Pioneer in Real Estate, Empowering Entrepreneur, 45th and President of the United States.

Net Worth: $2.1 billion

Website: www.trump.com

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

I have spoken about Donald Trump in previous posts, not just because of his success but also because of the failure he had to overcome again and again.

Donald began working for his father in the late 1960s. It was here that he truly shined and showed the world just where he was headed.

He started his career by successfully revamping a failing complex than appalling occupancy percentage, turning it into a fantastic complex with a 100% occupancy percentage.

He succeeded again when a few years later he took on a massive project that the city of New York had failed to complete. He completed the project using less than a third of the remaining budget.

Donald Trump as we know has not been just a successful businessman, he’s had his difficulties, and he’s been to a point where most entrepreneurs would have given up.

In 1992 Trump had to sign a bankruptcy plan because he could not make payments towards his debts, which were accumulating at quite a speed. His personal debt (not a business debt), was an incredible $900 million! Can you seriously imagine being in debt by that much money?

However, not want to disappoint; Trump managed to not only get out of his debt and get his business out of debt, but he also climbed straight back up that ladder and become a multi-billionaire.

Since this post was originally posted Donald Trump has become The President of the United States (POTUS) making him the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. Quite the achievement for an entrepreneur, no matter what your political leanings are.

#19 Oprah Gail Winfrey

OPRAH11 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born: January 29, 1954

Birth Place: Kosciusko, Mississippi, USA

Industry: Media and Entertainment

Influence: Empowering People, Female Media Pioneer

Net Worth: $2.8 billion

Website: www.Oprah.com

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

This is not the first time I have spoken about Oprah Winfrey and it probably won’t be the last.

It seems she come’s up a lot in entrepreneurial circles.

The reason Oprah is an influential entrepreneur, is that she’s been through so much – yet accomplished so much more.

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.

~ Oprah Winfrey

After being the subject of vicious sexual attack at the age of nine, she later became pregnant and lost the child at birth when she was only 14 years of age.

In 1986 she famously revealed this to her shocked viewers on her live show. Her fame came to fruition in 1983, when her seductive character and genuine love of people gained her the job of her dreams; as a talk-show host.

The following exposure was explosive, and she soon became one of the most famous, most loved, and most professional people in the entertainment industry.

However, she did not want to stop there as she felt there was another side to her, a side of which she wanted to pursue, her entrepreneurial side. In 1988 following her instincts she founded the company Harpo Studios, which for those of you not realised is Oprah spelt backwards.

This business grew in leaps and bounds, most likely because of her television career, which gave her a massive amount of advertising is every day. The company now has over 250 employees and is growing every year. She also co-founded oxygen media, which helps attract over 50 million viewers. Because of all the skills she possesses, and her entrepreneurial side, she’s created reported personal wealth of $2.8 billion.

#20 Steve Case

steve case 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born: 21 August 1958 (age 61 years)

Birth Place: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Industry: Internet Services

Influence: Helped Pioneer Online Services

Net Worth: US$1.37 billion (December 2015)

Website: www.aol.com

Why they made the list…

You may or you may not know Steve Case. He’s one of those rich and successful entrepreneurs, with a gigantic company who likes his privacy.

He was born, and he grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii and graduated in 1976 from a private school. Later he attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and graduated with a degree in political science.

In 1982, after having worked as an assistant brand manager at Procter and Gamble, he joined the Pizza Hut incorporation in Kansas, and served as one of the Pizza Hut marketing managers.

In 1983 he met Bill Von Meister, who was a contact of his older brother. His company was creating a marketing service to the Atari game console, which allowed the users to download certain games using only a phone line and a modem.

This was considered an amazing advancement in technology. Later in the same year Von Meister hired Steve Case to become a marketing consultant for a business, which at the time was almost going bankrupt.

In 1985 Steve Case co-founded a business called Quantum Computer Services, where he became Vice President of marketing.

His entrepreneurial character, and passion meant he eventually became Chairman and CEO of the company in 1991 and 1995, respectively.

In 1988 his business began working with Apple and PC link, helping create online services for both.

Later in 1991 Case changed the company’s name to America online, and later that same year integrated the Apple and PC services under the name AOL. ?

Over the following years Steve Case along with his team made many innovative online games, most of them being very successful.

After 10 years with amazing growth throughout the business, AOL and Time Warner merged.

The mergers were worth approximately $164 billion, and they completed it in 2000. Over the course of the next five years the business seemed to take a very sudden downturn due to the recession of the dot-com boom.

In 2005 Case left AOL and Time Warner so he could spend more time on his own business, Revolution LLC, (an American investment firm) which is a company he co-founded in 2005. Notable investments include LivingSocial and Zipcar.

#21 George Eastman

George Eastman 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Age: 77yrs (Died March 14, 1932)

Birth Place: Waterville, New York, USA

Industry: Photographic

Influence: A Pioneer in Photography

Net Worth: $100 million

Website: www.Kodak.com

Why this historical entrepreneur made the list…

Many of you will know the company Kodak, and many of you have probably used some of their products whether it be a digital camera, 35mm film, or even their processing services. ?

What you may not know or rather who you may not know is the man he made it all happen.

George Eastman was a self-educated man born in Waterville, New York, and is most notable legacy alongside his massive generosity, donating literally millions of dollars of his own personal wealth to charities and hospitals, is the invention of a roll of film.

He played a leading role in transforming photography as a form, bringing it from a very expensive hobby into the public domain so that anybody could take photographs and keep their memories forever.

The Kodak company was founded in 1884, and although Eastman had founded the business, he was more intrigued with the inventions within the photography industry rather than running the business.

Because of this, he hired Henry Strong as the president of Eastman Kodak.

In 1885, Eastman invented the roll film, which was used worldwide for over 100 years. It was also the basis for the motion picture camera film which early filmmakers such as Thomas Ava Edison used.

In 1888 Eastman registered Kodak as an official Trademark. He also came up with the “phrase You Press the Button and We Do the Rest”. ?

Eastman died in 1932 but not before donating masses of his personal fortune to many causes, such as the University of Rochester and the Royal Free Hospital.

# 22 Carlos Slim Helu

Carlos Slim Helu 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born 28 January 1940

Birth Place: Mexico City, Mexico

Industry: Telecommunication

Influence: Investments and Telecommunications

Net Worth: $49.4 billion USD (2020)

Website: www.carlosslim.com

Why they made the list…

Carlos started in business at aged eight when his father asked him to help with the family store, however his personal wealth began after he inherited a large amount of real estate from his parents. He leveraged the capital in the real estate to create the huge company he has today.

In the 1970s some of his assets became part of a group called Grupo Galas S. A, which was later Grupo, Carso.

This business had many departments such as restaurants, real estate, mining, tobacco, railways, and also department stores. Later in the 1980s a further 30+ companies joined his group, some of them very well known and well respected. Carlos Slim Helú also took control of the majority of shares of Cigatam, a tobacco business.

Cigatam, for those of you that don’t know, are the manufacturers of Marlboro cigarettes and many other brands of cigarettes. In the 1980s Carlos Slim Helú sold a massive 50% of his shares in this business just as the market was at its peak, giving him a considerable fortune.

He used the money from this sale to purchase a business chain called Sanborns, which again included restaurants, music stores and bookshops to name a few. In the 1990s he got Sears one of the country’s largest department stores to join his group.

Later he won a bid for the privatization of Teléfonos de México, also known as Telmex. With Telmex he incorporated a partnership with France Telecom and Bell Canada which brought him great success.

His business now controls 90% of all landlines within Mexico. With his fortune he has been an amazing example of what an investor should be, investing in companies such as Apple Computer Inc, MSN, and Red Uno (a national Bolivian television network) and Coca-Cola.

# 23 Walt Disney

walt disney3 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Age: 65 yrs (Died December 15, 1966)

Birth Place: Samur, France

Industry: Entertainment

Influence: Pioneered Entertainment

Net Worth: $1.1 billion

Website: www.Disney.go.com

Why they made the list…

I’m 100% certain every reader today, reading this will know Walt Disney, and he is a great example of a successful entrepreneur. His first break in entertainment came when he was hired by the Kansas City film Ad Company, where he learned to make animations from cut-outs.

He was then given a massive inspiration after reading the book by Edwin G. Lutz; Animated Cartoons: how they are made.

Upon reading it and getting quite excited about the prospects of becoming a professional animator he left Kansas City Film Ad Company. Laugh-O-Grams his second business went bankrupt; which was mainly down to the studio costs, staff costs and and lack of business to bring in revenue to pay for them. Which meant he wasn’t a bad businessman, he was just bad with money.

Having really learned his lesson from failing so miserably, Walt and his brother Roy went to Hollywood where they managed to secure a distributor deal to help with the business. Things grew more and more successful and the business started to go from strength to strength.

His unique characters and his ability to bring animation to life really brought the fans to the cinemas and theatres. Walt Disney received an Academy award in 1932 for his efforts in animation, thanks to his new found fans who were demanding more cartoons featuring Mickey Mouse.

Walt Disney continues his success for another 34 years before his death they left behind a legacy which is now called the Walt Disney Co.

In 2019, the Walt Disney Company held assets worth a total of over 193.98 billion U.S. dollars. In the same year, the company generated global revenue of 69.57 billion U.S. dollars, marking the highest figure to-date

# 24 Adam D’Angelo

Adam D'Angelo 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born August 14, 1984

Birth Place: USA

Industry: Internet Software Industry

Title: CEO of Quora and investor

Net Worth: In 2016 quoted as having a net worth of $600 million dollars

Wikipedia Entry | Website: https://www.quora.com

Why they made the list…

Adam D’Angelo is an American internet entrepreneur. He is best known as the co-founder and CEO of Quora, based in Mountain View, California. He was chief technology officer of Facebook, and also served as its vice president of engineering, until 2008. In June 2009, he started Quora.

D’Angelo was an advisor to and investor in Instagram before its acquisition by Facebook in 2012.

In 2018, he joined the board of directors of OpenAI

#25 Linda Bennett

Linda Bennett 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born 8 September 1962

Birth Place: Somerset, UK

Industry: Clothing and Retail

Influence: Inspiring Fashion and Entrepreneurs

Net Worth: $105 Million

Website: www.lkbennett.com

Why they made the list…

Linda Kristin Bennett is an English clothing designer and entrepreneur, best known for founding the fashion retailer L.K.Bennett.

Linda Bennett is truly a remarkable entrepreneur, not only has she made it in a very saturated industry but she has made it by working her way from the bottom to the top.

Her passion is in the clothing industry. Bennett started LK Bennett fashion group in 1990, selling a 70% stake 18 years later to two private equity groups in a £100m deal.

The reason she it named LK Bennett was because her middle name is Kristin and she thought it would make for a more professional sounding business name.

Bennett trained at Hackney’s cordwainer’s College and at Reading University, where she studied land management as well. Bennett still likes to design many of her brand items and is constantly creating new shoes for her brand.

Aged 26 she opened an accessories shop in Wimbledon with just £13,000 worth of savings and a £15,000 bank loan. Her goal was to produce “something in-between the designer footwear you find in Bond Street and those on the high street”

Because of her equal emphasis on comfort and glamour, LK Bennett earned the nickname “Queen of the Kitten Heel”.

She turned this into one of the most stylistic and high end brands within the clothing industry, creating shoes for the likes of the Duchess of Cornwall, which she wore for her wedding in 2005 to Prince Charles.

With an entrepreneurial streak Bennett has placed all the stores in very prime locations, just in reach of her ideal customer base. In 2004 she wanted to sell the business and asked for £75 million ($117.8 million) however the asking price was not met and she kept hold of the business.

Just four years on she sold the business to a private equity firm called Phoenix Equity partners and Sirius Equity. The deal was for a rumoured £70 million ($110 million). Bennett remained on the board of the company as a non-executive director and retained a stake of about 30 per cent.

In 2006, Bennett was awarded an OBE for services to the fashion industry in the UK New Year Honours list.

# 26 Madame C. J. Walker

madam c. j 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Age: December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919

Birth Place: Delta, Louisiana, USA

Industry: Haircare

Influence: Hair Care Pioneer, Empowered Female Entrepreneurs

Net Worth: She Had a Net Worth of $600,000 When She Died

Why they made the list…

Madame CJ Walker was an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist. She is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Although her fortune of $600,000 may not seem alot compared to others the reason why we included her was because of the inspirational life she lived.  She built an empire, through hard work and determination, and because of that she was an inspiration to other female would-be entrepreneurs.(at at time when they were quite rare)

Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, is best known for being America’s first African-American entrepreneur, and being one of the wealthiest women of her era.

A lot of the women in her era experienced hair loss. It’s thought this was because of a lack of indoor plumbing and electricity, which made it hard for them to bathe every day.

Walker had experienced this also (hair loss) and so she experimented with some of own home-made remedies. They work so well that she decided that it was worth investing in and creating a business out of it.

The products were an instant hit, and soon stores all across the country were selling them. In 1908 she opened a College for hair care trainees, and in 1910 she moved to Indianapolis and established a factory which she used as her main headquarters.

Later in her life she taught and lectured female entrepreneurs to help them build their own businesses and to gain their own freedom and independence.

This made quite a name for her and she later joined the National Association of the advancement of coloured people also known as the NAACP. She joined them to stop hate crimes and to ban lynching, making it a federal crime.

She died in 1919 because of apparent kidney failure, leaving behind her fortune and the manufacturing business to her daughter A’Lelia Walker.

But though the doors of her manufacturing company have long since shut, Madam C.J. Walker’s original brand still lives on. In 2013, Sundial Brands—the company that owns popular hair-care labels like Shea Moisture—purchased Madam C.J. Walker Enterprises

# 27 Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Age: 87 yrs (Died January 10, 1971)

Birth Place: Samur, France

Industry: Fashion

Influence: Fashion and  Perfume Pioneer

Net Worth: $160 million

Website: www.Chanel.com

Why they made the list…

Coco Chanel is one of those names that slips off the tongue, doesn’t it? It’s one of those names that we all know and probably one of those names we associate with the world of fashion and her perfumery.

Known worldwide, Coco Chanel was one of the most creative and successful entrepreneurs of her era. Her first chosen career was that of a singer, although she couldn’t get the work whether that was because she had a poor voice or because there was such excellent singers at the time I’m not quite sure.

However, it spurred her into becoming the entrepreneur we know her as today. In 1910 she became a hat maker and opened up her own beauty in the Paris, France. The business was a success and in 1913 she opened a boutique in Deauville, where she began introducing a luxury line of casual clothing which were apparently suitable for leisure or sport.

Fashion changes, but style endures.

– Coco Chanel

In 1921, after concocting a perfume for herself, she found other people enjoyed it so much that she introduced it to her boutique and she called it Chanel No. 5.

This perfume was the first of its kind, by that I mean that it was the first perfume that was ever sold worldwide and not just within a singular state or country.

1939 at the beginning of World War II, Chanel closed her, now many, boutiques as she believed it to be the wrong time to sell fashion. However, after four years without working, she decided it was time to renew her passion.

1945 after moving back to Paris (she had previously moved to Switzerland), she continued with their collections of luxury clothing and perfumes, and although her new collections at first did not have much success with the Parisians she was very successful with the British and American customers.

In 2019, her legacy, the Chanel brand was valued at approximately 11.5 billion.

# 28 Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born August 3, 1941

Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, USA

Industry: Television, magazine publisher

Influence: Health, Entertainment, Advice

Net Worth: Estimated net worth of $800 million.

Website: www.MarthaStewart.com

Why Martha Stewart made the list…

Martha Helen Stewart is an American businesswoman and television personality. As founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc, she has enjoyed enormous success in multiple business ventures.

Today, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. is a diversified media and merchandising company and is owned by Marquee Brands LLC since April 2019.

Martha Stewart created incredible success for herself through a plethora of business ventures such as publishing, merchandising, presenting and also broadcasting.

Perhaps the most recognizable thing that many of you will think of when you think of Martha Stewart is her prison time. In 2004 she was convicted of lying to an investigator regarding a stock sale and served only five months in prison. (Just so the British readers understand, lying to an investigator in the US is a federal offense punishable by up to 5 years in prison.)

Many people thought inside the prison she would deteriorate and possibly have a mental breakdown however that did not happen, and on her return from prison she bounced back massively and became even more successful than before.

In 2005 she released a book which was highly publicized because of her comeback. It became a best seller.

On TV she had the Martha Stewart show and also appeared on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Today, with her merchandise in many stores around the US, her lucrative television deals and her many books and magazines, she has an approximate net worth of $800million.

#29 Simon Fuller

simon fuller 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Born 17 May 1960

Birth Place: Dhekelia, Cyprus

Industry: Music

Influence: Television and Music Pioneer

Net Worth: $600 Million (2020)

Website: www.industrial-media.com/19Entertainment

Why this entrepreneur made the list…

Simon Fuller, although born in Cyprus, is a British artist manager and television producer manager. He’s also the television producer and the founding creator of the Pop Idol franchise.

Pop Idol first appeared in the UK and there is now over 100 different versions including American Idol and Australian Idol to name just a few.

He has also being a manager for some talented performers – the most notable ones being Annie Lennox, the Spice Girls, and S Club 7.

He was the chief executive in 19 Entertainment, which has offices in London, LA, and New York. He founded that business in 1985 after leaving Chrysalis Ltd, where he worked with some of the most profound names in the music industry, such as Madonna.

In 1985, aged only 25 years old, he signed the musician Paul Hardcastle and his first song went to number one in both the UK and the US charts with his Vietnam song,”19”.

In 1999 he got his first taste of working in television after he had auditioned over 10,000 people to form a new pop band. That band became known as S Club 7.

The band later became one of the most popular pop bands of the era, taking many number one places in the UK and the US charts. ?

Fuller came up with the idea for Pop Idol following the success of S Club 7. The process was a fun way to decide which musicians and singers to have in a band.

Pop Idol became an enormous success and later went over the waters to America where it was just as successful. Fuller persuaded some of the best presenters and judges in the entertainment industry to appear on the show, which created more hype and made the program even more successful.

#30 Michael Newton

michael newton 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time Age: 50yrs

Birth Place: Cheshire, UK

Industry: CCTV, Retail

Influence: Brought Revolutionary CCTV to the UK

Net Worth: The Sunday Times Rich List, Mike’s wealth was estimated at £385m

Why this entreprneur made the list…

Mike Newton, the founder and chief innovator at successful CCTV company NetVu – a pioneer of innovative technology and surveillance.

Michael changed the UK in big ways back in 1982 when he started with a CCTV system that monitored how long a person was at a snooker table (in a bar).

He soon introduced a line of multi-channel systems able to view across a broad range of areas all at once and not just in a singular location. He continued to add new systems to his arsenal and introduced them all to the UK.

Today, using Michael’s CCTV systems, over 7 million images are recorded a second!

If it wasn’t for his ingenuity and passion for what he did, it may have been another few years until the introduction of a similar CCTV device in the UK.

Not only did he make a fortune through his business; he also helped to make the UK a more secure and safe place to be.
In 1994 due to his enthusiastic interest within aviation he learned how to fly; and soon passed his pilots license. Being an entrepreneur, he decided to go into the aviation industry to try his hand at a new sector.

In 1998 he made the move into the commercial airline sector of the industry, which eventually led to the AD Aviation company he is now the CEO of. Michael Newton was named Britain’s Top Entrepreneur by Management Today magazine in 2005.

Related Reading: Mike’s big break!

Recommended entrepreneurship reading:

=>> Powerful inspiration from 15 of the worlds greatest entrepreneurs.

=>> The Truth About Being an Entrepreneur

=>> How do Successful Entrepreneurs Think?

=>> 17 Practical Ways To Manage Entrepreneurial Stress

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Comments

  1. TrafficColeman says:

    Oprah Winfrey..inspires me the most because of the harsh background she had to over come to get to the mile stone she at now..and I think Bill Gates will be the second..

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  2. Onibalusi Bamidele says:

    Wow! Great list Michael,

    I’m amazed to see Oprah Winfrey on this list…

    This is a really great list, thanks so much for it,
    -Onibalusi

  3. I can see a big takeaway here.

    Most of these people came from very humble beginnings and worked their way up.

    Persistence really paid off.

    We may not have control over much in life, but we can promise ourselves to “never give up”, always push on, always learn, and always keep trying.

    The moment we give up is the moment everything stops.

    Thanks Michael!

    Jeremiah

  4. Real Classic 🙂 Best of the best

  5. John Bakken says:

    Very nice and inspirational list! Thank you yet again Michael.

  6. Very amazing list Michael, this makes a nice read. Need to print it out.

  7. Anass Farah says:

    Geat List Aarron. Those entrepreneurs are all inspiration for us, by the way I will Add another one “John D. RockFeller” 😀

    Anass

  8. Nick Tart says:

    Hey Aarron! We just talked on Skype. I’m glad Thomas Edison made the list. Most people know about all of his inventions but very few recognize him as the founder of General Electric, one of the biggest brands in the world.

    Keep up the good work and keep Michael in check ;).

  9. Wade McMaster says:

    Awesome list! I think gates with worth a bit more than 53 million tho 😉

  10. Hi There,

    Mistake on Dale Carnegie wealth. It says 283.3 Billion pounds as is wealth. That would be more than the other 29 Entrepreneurs put together!
    Maybe the writer means 283.3 million??

    • Hey Anthony,

      According to Forbes he would be worth 283 billion, check his Wikipedia for more information on why he’s worth so much.

      Michael

    • Jay Brock says:

      And it’s Andrew Carnegie, not Dale Carnegie 😉

      Michael is right too, net incomes are always adjusted to current values. Technically Rockefellar was never a billionaire, but his wealth in today’s dollars would be almost a trillion.

  11. Aakanksha says:

    Hey,
    Oprah Winfrey’s life is the most inspiring and motivating…

    and for me… am still “creating” myself…

    c u soon…

  12. David Edwards says:

    Nice to see a dragon in there!…

    Awesome Mustang in the email…

    :]

  13. That’s really great list !

    Most names well known to me, but some surprised me to be on the list.

    Thanks for sharing Michael.

  14. Dana Wilde says:

    Great post, Michael!

    Thanks so much for including Madam C.J. Walker. She was ahead of her time and a role model for all of us in network marketing.

    She’s so often overlooked, it’s really nice to see her earn a place on this prestigious list!

    All the best … cheers . . . 🙂 Dana

  15. Great list,
    There’s probably 1000’s more that deserve to get on it but what I really appreciate is the mix of today tycoons and some of history’s greatest.
    I just love those lists, no wonder they are traffic magnets!
    Cheers,
    Andi

  16. harvestwages says:

    Great list MIchael,
    i thought Andrew Carnegie will top the list.

  17. Brian Childers says:

    Great read and very inspirational. I did not know that Sergie is was Rusky!

  18. This is inspiring, Michael and Aaron….Really inspiring. Thanks

  19. Ray | MarketingNotebook.com says:

    Nice list. Very Europe/ North America oriented. Here is an inspiring Indian entrepreneur to balance things up a bit……….steel magnate, Lakshmi Mittal.

  20. Mark Quick says:

    Great work Michael. Inspiration when I really needed it.

  21. Adesoji Adegbulu@MakeMoneyOnlineNigeria says:

    Great list.

    One day soon. I will be listed on such lists

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