There was a time when women were not allowed to vote and the most they were expected to do was look good for their men and cook for them. Times have changed since then and women today are reaching for the stars and even outshining men across many fields. They have become examples for generations to follow and are building their own empires. They are not only doing something for themselves but making sure that others, with lesser means, are able to live in a world that is a better and happier place. Here are 30 of the most influential females in entrepreneurship who have become an inspiration for millions around the world.
1. Arianna Huffington
Considered to be the most influential figure in the world of internet blogging and news, Arianna Huffington, started off as a conservative commentator, but later switched to liberal views and journalism. She is now the editor-in-chief and co-founder of The Huffington Post, a well-known website and blog that deals with satire, original news, business, politics, technology, entertainment, environment, culture, local news, health, media, comedy and women’s interests. It was in 2014 that Arianna was listed as the 52nd most powerful women in the world by Forbes.
Arianna has won many accolades for her contributions to The Huffington Post. She is also hailed as “Sir Edmund Hillary of social climbing”. The net worth of Huffington’s personal wealth is around $50 million.
2. Oprah Winfrey
Considered to be the most influential woman in the world, Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, actress, philanthropist, talk show host and producer. She is mostly known for her show, the Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired between 1986 to 2011. Coming from an extremely poor background, Winfrey rose to fame with dedication and unlimited hard work. She has been very popular for bringing out controversial topics like LGBT rights, sexual abuse, and obesity concerns to the media; so much so that her name has been turned into a phrase, “Oprahfication” by the Wall Street Journal, which means public confession for the sake of therapy.
As an entrepreneur she has been in all kinds of different careers including acting, producing, writing, commentating, show hosting and more. But what sets her apart are her many philanthropic endeavors that have improved countless lives, especially in Africa. Her personal wealth goes to a staggering $2.7 billion.
3. Martha Stewart
Who hasn’t heard of Martha Stewart and her delicious recipes and cooking shows? She is an American cook, television personality, writer and businesswoman. She is also the founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Starting as a catering businesswoman, Martha Stewart then went on to become the writer of her first ever book ‘Entertaining.’ She later went on to write quite a few books and also host cooking shows on TV.
Her net worth is $638 million.
4. Anita Roddick
Have you heard of the Body Shop? Well, it was created by none other than Dame Anita Roddick in 1976. With only 15 products in hand, the lady launched her beauty brand which has now become an international seller of “organic” beauty products cherished by women all over the world. Even though she had a difficult time convincing UK shoppers to opt for “Green beauty products”, she became the owner of 1980 Body Shop stores all over the world. Her ethics were such that the products are never tested on animals so that animal right activists are also in support of her business and marketing plans.
Before her death, her net worth was of $1.03 billion. She was also known to have been an active supporter of animal rights, fair dealing with third world countries and environmental activism.
5. Penny Streeter
Penny Streeter is mostly an unknown woman whose influence is undeniable and entrepreneur skills are brilliant. She started her own business in 1989 but the business failed completely. Left penniless, Penny still did not think of giving up, even though she also went through major personal crisis including divorce. In 1995, she decided to launch another organization that she named as Ambition 24hours, a recruitment company that provided staff to different sectors like nurses, teachers, social workers and more. The company has now expanded to Ambition 24hours, NS Health Staffing and Arabella Health Staffing.
She has been awarded quite a few times for her contributions to the world of business and entrepreneurship. Streeter’s net worth currently stands at $117.8 million.
6. Linda Bennett
Founder of the luxury women’s’ wear brand, Linda Bennett is the owner of fashion chain LK Bennett in UK. Her high-end brand became so popular that on her wedding to Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall wore shoes that were designed by Bennett herself. Starting with a simple accessories shop, Bennett has now grown an entire empire.
Linda Bennett’s net worth is $235.6 million.
7. Emma Harrison
Another powerful entrepreneur from Britain, Emma Harrison is the founder of the company A4e, short for Action for employment. Founded in 1991, A4e is now so widespread that it has different business centres in various countries around the world. The company also helps governments by providing many services like social care etc. She had also been appointed as the “Family Champion” in 2010 by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Harrison’s current net worth is $157 million.
8. Coco Chanel
If you have even the slightest interest in fashion then you already know who Coco Chanel is. One of the most influential fashion designers of France, she was the founder of the brand Chanel. She is known for changing the fashion trends of the post-World War era and liberating women from the “corseted silhouettes”, by giving them the choice to dress in a more casually pretty yet feminine style. She is believed to be the best fashion designer that lived and an entrepreneur who everyone looks up to. She is also the only fashion designer present on the Time’s list of the “100 most influential people of the 20th century”.
Her net worth is a modest $19 billion.
9. Mary Bara
You’ll be surprised to hear that the chairman of the General Motors Company is none other than a very influential businesswoman, Mary Bara. She is the first ever chairperson of an automobile company. Working with General Motors since the age of 18, Mary has held different positions, and since 2014 has been named the CEO of the organization. She has also been named as one of the “100 most influential people in the world” by Time’s Magazine. She is also the 7th most powerful woman in the world according to Forbes.
She is paid $28.6 million in compensations since her promotion.
10. Christine Lagarde
A lawyer and politician, Christine Lagarde is also the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund or IMF. She is the first woman to ever become a finance minister of the G8 countries and also the first woman to head IMF. She has been named the 5th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. She is also the president of the global strategic committee and one of the richest women in the world with a current net worth of $4 million.
11. Caterina Fake
An American entrepreneur, Caterina Fake is the cofounder of websites Hunch and Flickr. Coming from a humble background, Fake completed her BA degree and went on to join a top web development company, where she worked as a lead designer. She is known for her efforts at starting the famous image and video hosting website named Flickr. Hunch is another website that she launched which was later purchased and shut down by eBay.
The current net worth of Caterina Fake is $9.6 million.
12. Madame C.J. Walker
The first African American entrepreneur, Madame C.J. Walker was also one of the wealthiest people of her time. Back in the 1850’s, many women were experiencing hair loss, Walker being one of them. She decided to do something about it and came up with home-remedies that were so effective she launched her own hair dressing business. Her products became so popular that within no time, she had her very own factory setup and was training others on how to become masterful hair care professionals. She was also a political and social activist who worked to improve the condition of the blacks in America.
Madame C.J. Walker’s net worth was $600,000.
13. Michelle Zatlyn
The co founder and Head of User Experience at CloudFlare, Michelle Zatlyn is also one of the most influential entrepreneurs of this era. CloudFlare has been named as the most innovative internet technology company by the Wall Street Journal. She is also an educational speaker and panelist for many IT related sectors.
Her net worth is more than $30 million.
14. Brit Morin
Brittany Morin is the founder and owner of the Brit+Co, an online website that deals with everything DIY. She is one of those entrepreneurs that young people look up to, not only because of her success, but also because of the ideas that she has generated over the years. She not only gives online ideas on her website, but also trains and gives classes to those interested in learning about DIY projects. People can also purchase the stuff that is made by other people at her workplace in San Francisco.
Her net worth is $4.5 billion.
15. Helen Greiner
Ever heard of the Roomba, the vacuum-cleaning robot? Yes, it was created by the company that was founded by Helen Greiner, iRobot. The company was later given in the care of the military so that the technology could be used to create army robots and explosives. She has created another company by the name of CyPhy Works that also deals in robotics.
16. Cher Wang
Another great inspiration for all young entrepreneurs out there, Cher Wang is the co-founder of HTC mobile company. Her success came gradually after she completed her bachelor’s in economics. Considered to be one of the most powerful entrepreneurs in the world by Forbes, Cher is also the richest with a net worth of approximately $1.6 billion.
17. Sheryl Sandberg
Do you know who the CEO of Facebook is? Yes, it’s none other than a successful woman by the name of Sheryl Sandberg. But that is not her only credit. She is also a board member at The Walt Disney Company, Centre for Global Development and V-Day, as well as Women for Women International. Sheryl is also one of the most influential and hard-working entrepreneurs in the world.
Her net worth is $1 billion.
18. Indra Nooyi
The CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi is an American citizen of Indian descent. She has been ranked as the 13th most powerful women of the world by Forbes. Even though she joined Pepsi in 1994, within a short time, she became the CEO due to her hard work and continued efforts to improve the company.
Indra’s current net worth is $144 million.
You must have obviously heard of the beautiful and highly successful singer, Beyonce Knowles. But her voice is not her only asset. She is also a hardcore businesswoman who knows what she wants and how to make it happen. Even though her primary source of income is the music world, she has still made quite a few intelligent investments and also owns her very own clothing line.
The current net worth of Beyonce is $450 million.
20. Gine Rinehart
Hailing from Australia, Gina Rinehart is thought of as the richest person in Australia and the 6th richest and most powerful women of the world. She is the chairperson of Hancock Prospecting Group, which is an iron ore mining company. It produces approximately 30 million tons of iron each year. Even though she inherited the company from her father, it was her ideas and brilliant strategies that led the company to be as successful as it is today.
Her personal fortune accounts to $11.7 billion.
21. Wang Laichun
Do you know who supplies most of the parts to Apple for its brilliant products? Yup, it’s Wang Laichun’s company Luxshare in China. Wang is not only the chairperson, but she is one of the youngest and self-made female entrepreneurs who hit it big time with their constant and unending efforts. She was only able to come this far because of her faith in her own abilities along with a lot of grueling work.
Her net worth is $1.5 billion.
22. Sara Blakely
Have you heard of Spanx, the undergarment company? That too is one that was founded by a successful female entrepreneur, Sara Blakely. She too came from a relatively humble background and had to work extremely hard in order to create the company she has today. She was rejected time and again by investors before she was finally able to create the empire she dreamt of.
Blakely’s current fortune is $1 billion.
23. Susan Wojcicki
A technology executive, Susan Wojcicki is the CEO of YouTube! By now you may actually be wondering if there are any famous companies left where women aren’t at the very top! Before being the CEO of YouTube, she was the marketing manager at Google. She is said to be the most important person in advertising, which is why she is also the most powerful woman on the internet, according to Times magazine. It is because of her that YouTube is under the control of Google and because of her that YouTube is now a multi-million dollar company.
Her net worth is $350 million.
24. Folorunsho Alakija
The most powerful and richest female entrepreneur’s of Nigeria is Folorunsho Alakija. Ranked once as the 96th most powerful woman of the world by Forbes, she has been into quite a few sectors, including banking, oil industry, clothing line and printing. Her own company, a tailoring startup is known as Supreme Stitches, which hit big due to hard work and dedication.
Her net worth is $2.5 billion.
25. Dilma Rousseff
A Brazilian politician and economist, Dilma Rousseff is the first woman to become the president of Brazil. She is considered to be one of the post powerful and influential women of the world by the Forbes magazine.
26. Beth Comstock
Beth Comstock not only oversaw the founding of Hulu, a popular streaming service, but also leads General Electric’s business innovations unit, which includes ventures, licensing and GE lighting, along with sales, software commercialization and corporate marketing, which makes her one busy woman. GE currently generates $3 billion in annual revenue. Her own net worth is estimated to be around $1000000 as of 2016.
27. Ana Patricia Botin
Ana Patricia Botin is a Spanish banker who was appointed as executive chairman of the Santander Group, which elevated her to one of the most powerful female banking executives in the world and the first woman to lead the largest bank in the Eurozone.
28. Tory Burch
A very well known name in the world of fashion, Tory Burch is the owner of the Tory Burch brand. But this is not the only reason for her popularity and influence. It is her philanthropy and passion to help women entrepreneurs in developing their own business that has generated such attention towards her. She launched a project by the name of Elizabeth Street Capital that makes sure businesswomen get low cost loans as well as networking opportunities and mentoring from successful entrepreneurs in order to run their own organizations.
Her personal fortunes are currently at $1 billion.
29. Angela Ahrendts
The senior vice president of retail at Apple, Angela Ahrendts is a force to be reckoned with. She was at first the CEO of Burberry but switched fields in 2014. She has been ranked 25th in the Forbes list of most powerful women around the world. Her position is such that she is also a part of the British Prime Minister’s advisory business council.
Her net worth is $150 million.
30. Elizabeth Holmes
Last but not the least on this list of influential entrepreneurs is Elizabeth Holmes, who is one of the youngest self-made businesswomen who opted for an interest that was aimed at saving people in Palo Alto from different diseases. She is the owner of Theranos, which is a company that has created a blood testing device.
Her net worth is $800 million.
These were all the influential entrepreneurs around the world who have been working day and night in order to create powerful business setups that are not only beneficial for themselves but also for other rising entrepreneurs around them. So, take inspiration and continue on with your dream ladies and gentlemen!