Biographies 2015-09-18T00:04:15+00:00

Top 10 Entrepreneurs

1. Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) Edison filed over 1,000 patents during his life. But, he also combined a rare inventor’s capacity to make them commercially viable. He made a fortune through the electric light bulb and other inventions such as the phonograph.

2. Richard Branson (1950-)

A high school drop out, Richard Branson founded the Virgin group of more than 400 companies. It all grew out of a small record shop in London. Branson said he became an entrepreneur by chance because he wanted to have some fun and do things better than existing firms.

3. Steve Jobs (1955 ?-2011)

Steve Jobs was the co-founder of Apple Computers, and a leading exponent of the personal computer revolution. Jobs oversaw the development of key innovations in the mobile technology revolution such as iPhone, iPod and iPad.

4. Anita Roddick (1942 – 2007)

Anita Roddick was the founder of the Body Shop, a cosmetic firm, with strong ethical principles. Roddick showed entrepreneurs could succeed in business and maintain an ethical profile.

5. Bill Gates (1955- )

Co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates helped revolutionise operating systems for personal computers, becoming one of richest persons on the planet. He now works full-time for his charitable foundation.

6. Henry Ford (1864-1947)

Pioneered the use of Mass production for motor cars, helping to reduce the price and make cars affordable for the average American consumer.

7. Coco Chanel (1883-1971 )

Coco Chanel was a French designer and costume maker, instrumental in defining feminine style and dress during the 20th Century. Her ideas and business practises were revolutionary.

8. Larry Page (1973 – )

Along with Sergey Brin, Page is the co-founder of Google, which became one of fastest growing businesses of all time. Larry Page helped invent Page Rank which helped to make Google the most popular search engine.

9. James Dyson (1947 – )

British inventor and businessman, who invented the bag less vacuum cleaner and successfully marketed and sold product. Has continued to sell innovate designs, such as Dyson hand-driers.

10. Oprah Winfrey (1954 – )

Influential talk show host, who has also created a successful business empire, including her highly influential book club. She is considered one of the most influential women in the world.

Other Famous Entrepreneurs

Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919) Born in Scotland to poor parents, Carnegie moved to America where he became very wealthy through dominating the US steel industry. After selling his steel corporation in 1901, he devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy.

rockefellerJohn D. Rockefeller (1839 – 1937) Rockefeller became one of the richest persons in the world through his dominance of the oil and railroad industries. He became a generous philanthropists giving money to his church, education, medical science and public health.

Warren Buffet (1930 – ) Buffet became one of the wealthiest persons in the world through his investment strategies. He has pledged to give away 99% of his personal fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily through the Gates foundation.

Muhammad Yunus (1940 – ) Bangladeshi banker and economist. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (2006) for his work in micro-finance, a scheme for helping poor people to have greater access to finance at low interest rates. He developed concepts of micro-credit and micro-finance as an effective way to promote economic development.

Robert Owen (1771 – 1858) – Welsh social reformer who attempted to build utopian socialist and co-operative movement. His New Lanark factory was influential in showing workers could be treated well and a business still be profitable.

Sir Titus Salt (1803 – 1876) – Victorian businessman who developed successful manufacture of Alpaca wool in Bradford, Yorkshire. Also famous for building his model village in Saltaire, and being one of few businessmen of era to care about his workers.

maxwellRobert Maxwell (1923 – 1991 – Printing and media. Maxwell was a flamboyant entrepreneur who built up Pergamon Press to become a publishing empire, including the Mirror Group. However, on his death he left large hole in his companies pension funds, due to mismanagement of funds.

Walt Disney (1901 – 1971) Movie producer and creator of Disney theme parks. Disney began his career as a cartoonist; with his popular cartoon characters, such as Donald Duck, he was able to set up Disney corporation, which became one of most successful entertainment businesses in America.

Estee Lauder (1906 – 2004) With her husband, Estee Lauder was the creator of America’s biggest cosmetic company. Founded in 1946, Estee Lauder came to be a prominent cosmetic company specialising in skin care and beauty creams.

Ted Turner (1938 – ) An American media mogul. Ted Turner is the founder of the 24 hour news channel CNN, setting a precedent for dedicated media cable TV channels. He is also one of the largest landowners in the US.

Donald Trump. (1946 – ) Real estate and media mogul. Trump made his fortune in real estate investment, and his Trump Entertainment Resorts company. An outspoken and controversial figure he is frequently in the limelight.

Carlos Slim Helu (1940 – ) – Mexican entrepreneur. From 2010 to 2013 he was ranked as the richest person in the world. He is an investor in a diverse range of businesses through his conglomerate Grupo Carso. This includes the mobile phone group America Movil.

Theo Paphitis (1959 – ) Graduating as an office clerk in Lloyds of London, Theo Paphitis made a fortune in property before investing in NAG mobiles and turning around Ryman’s stationers (£250 million). Features in BBC’s Dragons Den.

Lakshmi Mittal (1950- ) Born in a village without electricity in India, he started his working life as a steel worker. Lakshmi went on to buy his own steel mills and turn loss making steel companies around. By 2008, he had a net worth of $16bn in 2012, making him 22nd richest person according to Forbes.

Richest People in History

A list of the richest people throughout history, from Tutankhamun and the Rothschilds to Bill Gates.

Tutankhamun (1332–1323 BC) The Egyptian Pharaoh owned all of Egypt’s wealth. His elaborate tomb displayed an array of riches, including his coffin being lined with sheet gold. The gold weighed 110.4 kg

Marcus Licinius Crassus (115 BC – 53 BC) Crassus was a Roman general and politician who created a fortune through amassing a huge portfolio of real estate. He gained property through confiscating lands of people he convicted and also buying burning properties at knock down prices. He also gained wealth through trading in slaves and minerals. He became famous for his insatiable desire for money.

Pope Innocent III (1160-1216) One of the most powerful popes, Innocent III claimed authority over all European kings and raised a fortune through selling indulgences and raising money for crusades. Ironically, despite his great wealth, he preached frugality and gave permission for St Francis of Assisi to form an order of monks devoted to poverty.

Genghis Khan – (1162 – 1227) From humble beginnings, Genghis Khan conquered Mongolia and China and then created an Empire stretching into Central Europe. His wealth could only be measured in land acquired. Genghis Khan wasn’t so concerned with material accumulation, living in a tent. His main desire was to conquer and humiliate his enemies.

Kublai Khan (1215-1294) Kublai Khan was the grandson of Genghis Khan, inheriting the Mongul Empire. He built the city of Shangdu (Xanadu) which became famous for lavish hospitality and ostentatious displays of wealth.

Mansa Musa (c. 1280 – c. 1337) Mansa Musa was the ruler of the African country Mali. At the time, the country produced 50% of the world’s gold and salt. These rich natural resources enabled him to become the richest person of all time. One study suggests, adjusted for inflation he amassed a fortune of $400 billion.

House of Medici (14th – 15th Century) The picture shows Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici(1444–1478), who set up the Medici bank. They dominated Italian politics throughout the middle ages, using their wealth to influence the Papacy and government. Their wealth helped to sponsor much art of the High Renaissance.

Jakob Fugger (1459 – 1525) Fugger was a German trader, merchant and banker. He founded his wealth on trade with Italy. He then formed a powerful banking network, which made him the richest person in Europe. He also gained a monopoly on the production of copper.

Akbar (1868 – 1918) – During Akbar’s reign, the Moghul empire tripled in size and wealth. He built his capital Agra, the remarkable red fort by the Jamuna to dazzle his inhabitants. He was also a noted benefactor of the arts, literature and culture. The Moghul riches included the Kohinoor diamond.

Tsar Nicholas II (1868 – 1918) As supreme ruler of Russia, Tsar Nicholas II’s personal wealth was estimated at an inflation adjusted $300 billion. His great fortune masked an impoverished country, exhausted by its participation in the First World War. The inequality of wealth in Russian society was a factor behind the Russian revolution.

Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919) Born in Scotland to poor parents, Carnegie moved to America where he became very wealthy through dominating the US steel industry. After selling his steel company in 1901, he devoted the rest of his life to giving away his wealth to projects such as libraries, world peace and education. By his death, he had given away $4.8 billion (2010 terms)

John D. Rockefeller (1839 – 1937) Rockefeller became one of the richest persons in the world through his dominance of the oil and railroad industries. His wealth was created through a cut throat approach to business and his reliance on gaining monopoly power. His wealth was estimated at an inflation adjusted $340 billion. Towards the end of his life he turned philanthropist and gave a lot of his money away.

Bill Gates (1955- )
Co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates became one of the world’s richest men. Forbes rank him as the richest person in the world (as of 2013) despite giving $23billion away to his charitable foundation.

George Solos (1930 – ) Soros is a Hungarian-American business magnate and investor. Between 1979 and 2011, Soros gave away over $8 billion to causes related to human rights, public health, and education. He also supports liberal progressive politics

Nathan Rothschild (1777 – 1836)
A London based Jewish banker. Nathan Rothschild was the second generation of this family’s banking business. It was under Nathan that the family became the dominant force in European banking. He made a fortune through trading and selling bonds during the Napoleonic wars.

Cornelius Vanderbilt (May 27, 1794 – 1877) Vanderbilt amassed his fortune through his dominance of railroads and shipping. He built and controlled many of the most significant railroads in America, such as the New York railroad and he built the Grand Central Terminal.

Samuel Walton (March 29, 1918 – April 5, 1992) Walton made his fortune in retail. He began from humble beginnings – owning a small grocery store. But, he pioneered many successful elements of big supermarkets and from the early 1960s his Walmart supermarkets became very successful

John Pierpont “J. P.” Morgan ( 1837 – 1913) J.P.Morgan built a financial empire based on banking, and investment. He arranged the biggest mergers of his day. His son J.P. ‘Jack’ Morgan grew his father’s business and wealth through exploring new avenues of wealth creation. He used his wealth to supply the US government with gold during the 1895 crisis and he averted the 1907 financial panic.

Henry Ford (1863 – 1947) American industrialist who founded Ford motor car company. His great success in using principles of mass production, enabled him to produce motor cars cheaply, leading to record sales of Model T cars.

J. Paul Getty (1892-1976) An Anglo American oil magnate, Getty struck lucky with discovering oil at his first drill. This made him his first millions. Despite his great wealth he was a noted miser, and had a public payphone installed at his house for guests.