We’ve all seen inspiring and motivational quotes from or facts about the world’s most famous entrepreneurs.
We know the uplifting lore about a single individual inventing world-changing technologies from a garage stall.
There is so much more to the architecture of entrepreneurship than the two-dimensional legends circulating.
Here, we highlight 17 of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs and examine the structure of their success.
What Is an Entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is an individual who pursues a profitable opportunity by organizing one or more businesses.
This person usually assumes the bulk of the financial risk that it takes to start a new business.
An entrepreneur might introduce a new product or service to an existing industry, or they might expand on or reimagine products and services already on the market.
You can learn even more by checking out the best blogs about business.
Who Is the Youngest Successful Entrepreneur?
It’s easy to limit our perspective of entrepreneurship to a specific image, but there’s no defining age to starting and managing a thriving business.
1. Kamaria Warren
Kamaria Warren began her entrepreneurial journey at the age of seven.
Since launching her small business Brown Girls Stationery in 2015, she’s made over $10,000 in profit.
Kamaria saw a niche for her product after realizing she couldn’t connect with images of young girls featured on school supplies and accessories.
Brown Girls Stationery offers backpacks, notepads, clothing, notebooks, umbrellas, bedding, shower curtains, party supplies, and more that all feature young girls of color.
Although she’s very young, Kamaria Warren has a powerful vision that reaches past her successful online store by empowering other business-minded children through her membership website, The Mini CEO Academy.
2. Lily Born
At age 16, Lily Born has international recognition for her invention and subsequent business, the Kangaroo Cup. She was only ten years old when she introduced her product, and she has since been featured in business and tech publications across the globe.
Lily’s father aided in the production process, as she was only eight when she invented the Kangaroo Cup’s initial prototype.
Her grandfather’s Parkinson’s disease inspired her to create the cup that can’t tip over.
Now her business donates its products to nonprofits and helps to fund STEM education for other young girls.
3. Mikey Wren
Michael “Mikey” Wren is a teenage boy who owns a series of vending machines around St. Louis, Missouri.
His business exemplifies how entrepreneurship doesn’t require introducing new products.
When Mikey discovered that purchasing snacks from a vending machine put money in someone’s pocket, he saw an opportunity to generate income at ten.
His parents paid for half of his first vending machine, and he has a professional mentor who is the President of American Vending Machines but got there by researching and assembling his business plan and raising half of the funds for his first business purchase.
Now, Mikey Wren is a best-selling author of two children’s books and a motivational speaker and is running his business as the youngest vending machine operator in the country while attending middle school.
17 Most Famous Entrepreneurs In The World
You might not be familiar with the youngest CEOs, but you know the next ones on this list.
Let’s take a look at the most famous entrepreneurs and their businesses.
Who was the first entrepreneur in the world?
The first entrepreneurs in the world were merchants and traders recording back to 17,000 BCE.
Who is the greatest businessman in the world?
Elon Musk, if you base the answer to this question on wealth. He is worth $228 billion as of October 2022.
Most Famous Entrepreneurs of All Time
Skills in computer programming and software development were the driving force behind Bill Gates’ license for the famous operating system MS-DOS and co-founding of The Microsoft Corporation.
This system set the standard for personal computers in the 1980s, and through adaptation to integrating software with the internet during its rise, Bill Gates amassed a staggering fortune.
He strategically solidified himself and his programming as Microsoft’s lifeblood.
Moreover, he maintained his position as Microsoft’s largest individual shareholder, and his investment acumen brought him to billionaire status.
He is an avid philanthropist, and history relates him to John D. Rockefeller.
Apple Computer, Inc. also fits into the personal computer industry.
The company saw initial success but then financial decline, and Jobs lost his position.
Jobs went on to obtain a controlling interest in the computer graphics firm Pixar and develop it into the leading animation studio.
Pixar stocks gave Jobs his billionaire status, and he later sold the studio to Disney.
He eventually returned to reinvent Apple with new Mac computers, iPods, and iPhones.
Apple’s stock value had deep ties to Jobs, his deteriorating health, and his eventual death.
Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to focus on his groundbreaking social media venture The Facebook in 2004.
With major investments by venture capitalists, Facebook saw rapid growth and Zuckerberg maneuvered buy-out options to diversify the company stock. Its IPO granted him billionaire status in 2008.
Facebook went through many evolutions to become the reigning social media platform and Zuckerberg recently led an expensive brand overhaul to transition Facebook into Meta.
The rebrand cost him half of his paper fortune due to stock losses but he is still worth over $55 billion.
Musk is a South-African immigrant who came to America to study economics and physics before leaving graduate school to focus on commercial opportunities involving the internet in the 1990s.
He founded and sold his first internet-based company for $307 million before co-founding PayPal which eBay bought for $1.5 billion.
After this, Musk shifted to rocket designing and manufacturing and launched the company SpaceX.
Elon Musk was one of the initial investors in the electric vehicle company Tesla.
After legal trouble with the SEC concerning Twitter, Musk bought the social media giant in 2022.
Jeff Bezos went from working in investment banking to founding and working as CEO of the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.
Amazon.com revolutionized the budding e-commerce industry, continuing expansion into seemingly endless products and services.
Amazon sees staggering annual revenue, and although Bezos stepped down as CEO in 2021, he maintains an influential role in the company.
Additionally, he founded the spaceflight company Blue Origin and owns The Washington Post and all of its affiliate publications.
He is worth over $100 billion.
Famous Entrepreneurs Around the World
Above are US-based famous entrepreneurs, but let’s highlight some international tycoons.
Who Is the Most Successful Filipino Entrepreneur?
Henry Sy founded Shoe Mart, an incredibly successful retail and entertainment conglomerate that started by selling used combat footwear to American soldiers during WWII.
He developed his business into massive shopping malls offering a wide range of services and became one of the wealthiest men in the world.
Who Is a Successful Entrepreneur in Ethiopia?
Bethlehem Tilahum is the female founder of the eco-friendly shoe brand SoleRebels.
Her business model centers on creating job opportunities for members of her impoverished community.
Marrying traditional African design with contemporary Western fashion, Tilahum’s footwear business rivals major competitors.
Who Is the Number One Entrepreneur in India?
Dhirubhai Ambani developed Reliance Industries, which is India’s largest private enterprise.
The company has involvement in telecommunications, logistics, consumer products, and power production.
Famous Entrepreneurs Female
Beyonce’s business beginnings date back to when she and her bandmates found massive success in the music industry.
She’s gone on to become one of the most famous entertainers in American history and made savvy decisions along the way to cultivate a global brand.
In addition to her many top-selling vocal records, she owns a music streaming service with her husband and the production company Parkwood Entertainment.
She has a diverse range of ventures that includes successful work on the performance and production sides of media and being the spokeswoman and model for brand giants, as well as her fashion and beauty lines.
Individually, she has a net worth of around $440 million.
Lynda Resnick is an American billionaire who founded a full-service marketing agency as a teenager.
Her agency featured innovative campaigns with mass appeal.
She’s spent decades leading product development and marketing on an international level for the global agriculture enterprise The Wonderful Company.
She co-owns The Wonderful Company with her husband, which focuses on sustainable farming methods.
It’s one of the largest farming companies in the world. Lynda Resnick is also a best-selling author and fervent philanthropist.
Amoruso founded Nasty Gal, an online fashion retailer, at 22.
She grew the business from a humble e-commerce operation specializing in vintage wear into a mammoth brand that brought her a fortune of almost $300 million.
She now owns several businesses on top of Nasty Gal and stepped down as CEO, while maintaining integral involvement, to focus on authoring, podcasting, and mentoring about fostering and navigating entrepreneurship.
Sound like you?
As arguably the most famous female entrepreneur on this list, and possibly in history, Oprah grew a career in journalism into an iconic media reign spanning decades and multiple on-and-off-camera roles.
She founded the television company Harpo Productions in the 1980s and progressed to tackle insanely successful film ventures.
She expanded into print media with her publication O, The Oprah Magazine, and co-founded the television network Oxygen before launching OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network.
Most recently, she produces content for Apple TV+ and continues to host culturally-important interviews on CBS.
She is famously charitable and started a nonprofit that sponsors charities on a global scale.
Fake founded the ultra-popular photo-sharing site Flickr, which she later sold to Yahoo for around $25 million.
She is also the co-founder of the taste profile website Hunch, which she sold to eBay for $80 million.
She now invests millions into other entrepreneurs through her venture capitalist fund Founder Collective.
The tech industry refers to Caterina Fake as a “serial entrepreneur” as she is constantly launching new products and platforms.
Kylie Jenner was born into wealth, fame, and power and smartly invested in founding her makeup business Kylie Cosmetics in 2016.
With Kylie Cosmetics as the primary vehicle, alongside her family’s world-famous reality tv-show and many subsequent branding deals, Kylie Jenner gained billionaire status.
She notoriously capitalizes on her mind-boggling social media following by featuring her many businesses consistently.
She sold 51 percent of the stake in Kylie Cosmetics to the beauty brand Coty Inc.
She has over 150 brand names trademarked, however, her current active businesses include Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Skin, Kylie Swim, and Kylie Baby.
Kylie Jenner earns around $8 million per season from her family’s reality show and averages around $20,000 an hour from paid social media promotions, income from her businesses, and celebrity campaigns and appearances.
She is worth around 900 million dollars as of 2022.
Arianna Huffington founded the globally-recognized news outlet The Huffington Post and is the founder and CEO of Thrive Global.
Huffington also authored fifteen books. She sold The Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million.
Check out our list for best book-related blogs.
Tory Burch, LLC. is a massive American fashion label that Tory Burch, the child of wealthy investors, founded in 2004.
It began with one retail location and now has over 3,000 stores worldwide. Burch is a designer, businesswoman, and devoted philanthropist.
Martha Stewart began navigating the business world as a stockbroker on Wall Street before turning her attention to refinishing and decorating properties.
She launched an upscale catering business in the 1970s and began authoring books and articles surrounding lavish domesticity.
Stewart joined forces with a publisher to develop a monthly magazine that she edited and starred in before securing a merchandise deal with retail giant Kmart.
She founded the multimedia and marketing firm Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and later sold it for $350 million while maintaining a role as Chief Creative Officer.
What You Can Learn From Famous Entrepreneurs
We interviewed entrepreneurs on our own and there are many powerful life and businesses lessons to learn from famous entrepreneurs and newbies alike.
1. Failures Aren’t the End
Every entrepreneur on this list has had past business failures.
These individuals overcame rejection and learned from their mistakes to continue pursuing the ventures that brought them wealth.
You have to be resilient to adapt to constant change and new challenges.
2. Be Open to New Opportunities
As serial entrepreneurs prove, there’s always a new idea in which to invest.
No one on this list sold their companies and stopped working.
Instead, these famous entrepreneurs are always chasing the next venture.
You never know what skill or connection might come in handy in future endeavors, so take every learning and relationship-building opportunity you can get.
3. Follow What You Love to Do
Passion fuels ingenuity and persistence, which are both necessary in entrepreneurship.
Most people who invent a product or service or start their own business do it because they are passionate about the subject.
Loving the work you do keeps you from getting bored or burning out.
If you have an inner fire that lights for a particular area, follow it.
4. Value Your Time
Valuing your time as an entrepreneur helps to optimize efficiency and get paid fairly for your work.
There is power in recognizing that spending your time is the same as spending money.
5. Never Stop Learning
Thinking that you know it all is a quick way to achieve stagnancy.
With the business world constantly evolving, we need to evolve alongside it and remember that there is always room for improvement and growth.
6. Give Something Back
It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to have a hands-on approach to philanthropy.
It’s a gift to other aspiring business owners and members of our communities who are working to solve societal problems to pay it forward.
7. Confidence Is Key
Confidence is a mindset that directs us to success.
How are you supposed to sell your products or services to others if you can’t convince yourself of their value?
Confidence helps us bounce back from failures and adopt strong decision-making in business.
8. Surround Yourself With Great Workers
Entrepreneurs need a cohesive and flexible team to healthily support and grow their business.
You need a small, self-sufficient group of skilled and confident workers to keep the machine running.
The most famous entrepreneurs in the present day are co-founders and CEOs or former CEOs of mostly US-based companies.
The wealthiest of the group work primarily in technology and are cunning investors.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t have an age requirement.
Anyone who can gather enough resolve and resources to start a business can.
Every industry has room for new ideas, services, and products.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t have one gender either, with droves of wildly successful women capitalizing on their strengths and connections to build global brands.
Famous entrepreneurs make powerful financial moves, have a hand in many different businesses across all kinds of industries, and give back to communities while never giving up the chase of new, lucrative opportunities.
Please comment if you have further questions regarding famous entrepreneurs.