Are you interested in knowing who are the Top Entrepreneurs of the world? Do you wish to take some inspiration or motivation from their life?
Who makes and loses and then makes a billion dollars all over again? An entrepreneur. What is an entrepreneur? Someone with an idea, motive, passion, and the will to change the world as we know it by applying imagination, creativity, and intelligence with business acumen to make something out of nothing.
With great risk comes greater reward; as such there are as many stories of failure – or near-death experiences for some – as there are success stories. However, that does not have to deter one from pursuing what they believe in.
If anything, these storied entrepreneurs inspire future generations who may feel hopelessly indecisive about what they want out of life. It would be a mistake to let the opportunity pass you by if you have a good idea.
In that spirit, here are some of the most famous entrepreneurs in history who have played by their own rules and made it to the top, showing us all that is possible with perseverance and patience.
Top 20 Influential Entrepreneurs of The World:
Here is the list of top entrepreneurs of the world:
1. Richard Branson:
I bet most of you reading this will not need an introduction to Richard Branson. Besides being one of the coolest guys alive, Richard Branson is also one of the world’s most iconic entrepreneurs who still think ahead of his time just like when he started out with his record label Virgin records at age 20 in 1972.
Today, Richard has launched over 400 different companies under the umbrella “Virgin Group”, many of which are global leaders in their own right, most famous of which would be Virgin Galactic.
A self-made billionaire with a net worth of $4.2 billion dollars, Richard Branson has invested in numerous charity organizations and humanitarian causes, including the Elders and The B Team.
He is also known for his philanthropic pursuits, under which he created the “Branson School of Entrepreneurship” to provide training in leadership skills through experiential learning (e.g., launching NGOs).
With humility & humor, he speaks eloquently about how to launch one’s ideas into fruition – “Don’t spend too long planning your first step; take it as far as you can, make it… but plan what you will do next whilst your first step is in progress.”
2. Elon Musk:
Founder of SpaceX, PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SolarCity, it’s hard not to be impressed with what this South African-born American has done in the last decade.
A self-made billionaire who was named as one of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune Magazine, Elon is known for his forward-thinking ideas which he adapts into workable solutions in order to change the world – why space travel? He wants every human being on Earth to know what it feels like to travel through space (>3 minutes of weightlessness).
Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure there are people out there that would put everything aside just to have a chat with the guy and enjoy his unbridled enthusiasm for life.
3. Steve Jobs:
Arguably one of the most influential entrepreneurs in technology, in which he co-founded Apple and Pixar, and revolutionized personal computing and animated film production respectively – it’s hard to explain just how much of an impact this guy made on our world today.
From inspiring leaders such as Barack Obama [who says that everything he knows about organizing people and teams he learned from Steve] to having a whole college course devoted to studying him [Stanford University], no one can deny the legacy left behind by this American business magnate was nothing short of impressive.
The inventor of iMac, iPod, iPhone & iPad (launched consecutively) has garnered himself $10.2 billion dollars in net worth – do you think that is enough to buy the right to be called one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs?
4. Larry Ellison:
A self-made billionaire with a net worth of $43 billion, this American entrepreneur has had his feet in everything from car rental agencies, software development, and consulting to building the largest yacht in the World (costing $200 million).
Now known as “Oracle” after acquiring Sun Microsystems for $5.6 billion, Larry Ellison has definitely smashed every potential barrier along his road to success by making possible all things that were once thought undoable or too challenging for others to even contemplate attempting.
I mean come on; how cool would it be if you were the guy that brought “sushi drive-thru’s” to America?
5. Mark Zuckerberg:
Owning the title of World’s Youngest Self-made billionaire at age 23, this entrepreneur has had everything he worked for in his life come effortlessly to him.
At 14 years old, this American was able to achieve what most 6 times his age could not because he looked past all obstacles and utilized his talents – an innate understanding of computer languages and social networks.
Now worth $6 billion dollars, Mark Zuckerberg is known as “Zuck”, revolutionizing the likes of social media (Facebook), and how we communicate with each other through various mediums (the like button).
From starting out hacking into different universities’ [Harvard] networks to seeing his company acquired by Yahoo!, being the youngest billionaire around is an accomplishment most people can only dream of – good job Zuck!
6. Lawrence J. Ellison:
Known as Larry, this American businessman has made waves in the pharmaceutical industry with sheer determination and consistency – that are not easy traits to find in a person when you are constantly surrounded by your competition.
With an estimated net worth of $41 billion dollars, Larry Ellison has built himself one of the greatest resumes there is, having founded Oracle Corporation in 1977 (where he is currently serving as CEO).
Having brought us some of the world’s best software development tools & technology used in business sectors all over the globe including banking, telecommunications, and government institutions, his impact in the world is nothing if not colossal.
7. Oprah Winfrey:
This American entrepreneur is known for her TV show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” – that can honestly be described as one of the most impacting talks shows in history; having won several Emmy Awards and nominated for an Oscar (for Best Supporting Actress role in The Color Purple (1985)).
A philanthropist, media mogul, and actress – she has achieved everything she has set out to do in life with great success.
Through Oprah’s Angel Network, she is able to contribute money towards educational institutions around America; where 6% of her $2.8 billion net worth goes into charity works almost immediately upon earning it.
Not only that, but through this organization, over $400 million dollars have already been donated towards projects that are designed to help people.
8. Michael Bloomberg:
Having served as New York City’s 108th Mayor, this American entrepreneur had made his mark in the world by contributing more than $5 billion dollars for research into public health, women empowerment, and gun control – just to name a few of his cause-driven initiatives (Bloomberg Philanthropies).
He is an outspoken supporter of Gay Marriage, believing it should be legal all over America; seeing as how he was born on St. Patrick’s day (March 17), let’s hope some of that holiday luck makes its way onto his side come election time! With an estimated net worth of $19.2 billion dollars, this former CEO and Chairman of the Board of Bloomberg L.P., a global media company, continues to use his financial success in a positive manner by helping out those less fortunate.
9. Larry Ellison:
This American businessman is estimated to have an estimated net worth of $43 billion dollars (#14 on Forbes World’s Billionaires List ) – making him one of today’s biggest software tycoons, as he has been ever since he co-founded the Oracle Corporation back in 1977 with Robert Miner and Edward Oates (who are no longer involved with it).
This multinational company was initially built off of the idea of making high-end business software (especially for database management) but it has since grown to make much more than that over the years.
10. Jack Ma:
This Chinese entrepreneur has made quite the name for himself in the online shopping market through Alibaba Group Holding Limited – currently being one of the most reputable retailers all over Asia supplying everything from foodstuffs & beverages towards clothing & footwear.
Featured in Forbes Magazine’s list of The World’s Most Powerful People, he is said to be worth around $21 billion dollars.
Not only that but with an educational background in English language/literature – Jack Ma wrote 1 million e-mails promoting Alibaba’s before they were ever even launched! This has truly helped him to become the man he is today.
11. Sergey Brin:
This American computer scientist, entrepreneur, and internet developer is best known as one of the co-founders of Google Inc. – has created a search engine that would go on to become the most used in the world (Googled!).
His estimated net worth is $22.8 billion dollars, making him #12 overall for The World’s Billionaires list.
Furthermore, if you’re looking for proof that this Silicon Valley resident knows how to make clear choices regarding his company; just look at the way he went about firing people (employees) who didn’t share his vision! Even though this billionaire may seem like kind of an oddball – always wearing a plain t-shirt and sandals amongst his peers inside the hallowed walls of Google’s headquarters; he is still able to inspire others to make their dreams come true by pursuing them full throttle.
Brin has pledged to give away at least half of his wealth through charitable causes evident through the foundation named in his honor (Brin Wojcicki Foundation).
12. Charles & David Koch
This pair of American entrepreneurs are widely known for creating The Wichita, Kansas-based Koch Industries – an oil corporation that ranks as one of the largest privately held companies within America, having annual revenues amounting up to $115 billion dollars.
Not only that but these brothers were also recognized for donating $1 million towards defeating President Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012. Their estimated combined net worth is $78 billion dollars – ranking them at #3 for Forbes World’s Billionaires list.
Not only that, but the brothers are heavily involved with different political organizations that include groups such as The Cato Institute and Americans For Prosperity, both of which have goals of limited government & lower taxes.
13. Michael Bloomberg
This New York City-based politician, philanthropist, and businessman was the 108th Mayor of New York City – serving three consecutive terms from January 1st, 2002 to December 31st, 2013. With an estimated net worth of around $31 billion dollars, this former CEO and Chairman of the Board of his own media company (Bloomberg L.P.) is ranked #6 on Forbes World’s Billionaires list.
Furthermore, he is recognized as being the 7th-richest American politician in history – even earning the distinction of having more money than any other individual in history per their rank on Forbes’ list.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for this American entrepreneur – after losing out to Mayor Rudy Giuliani during his first attempt at an election, Bloomberg made sure that it wouldn’t happen again by winning a second term in his own right.
14. Larry Page & Sergey Brin
If you’re into science fiction novels or computer-generated imagery (CGI) then you might have come across movies such as The Thirteenth Floor, Minority Report, The Matrix, I-Robot, and TRON. Well, these are just some of the movies that use CGI/animation provided by this American corporation named Pixar Animation Studios.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for this company – especially when Steve Jobs (Apple Computer co-founder) was at the helm. This is because Pixar’s partnership with Disney had some pretty tough times before they were ultimately bought out by Disney.
Their estimated combined net worth is $76.9 billion dollars making them #7 on Forbes World’s Billionaires list. Furthermore, these two entrepreneurs are recognized as being the 10th richest in Europe (large part due to their Google stock holdings).
15. Sheldon Adelson
This Israel-born American businessman and philanthropist have an estimated net worth of $29 billion dollars (#8 on Forbes World’s Billionaires list ), having made his fortune from success in the Gaming & Casinos industry. His company – Las Vegas Sands Corporation has centers where people can gamble that include places such as The Venetian Macao and The Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
It was a pretty tough road for this business entrepreneur to climb up the ladder towards success, having been born in poverty and raised in a one-bedroom apartment by an immigrant father who sold milk on the streets of Boston Massachusetts.
Furthermore, Adelson attended City College of New York before graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering & Business Administration at the age of 22 from Babson College.
16. Jim Walton
This American businessman is part of the family that owns (through Arvest Bank Group) a chain of Wal-Mart Supercenters and Sam’s Clubs. In fact, it is estimated that he contributes around $20 billion dollars to his family’s net worth – ranking him at #9 on the Forbes World’s Billionaires list.
However, things didn’t look too bright for this entrepreneur when he was diagnosed with having a rare genetic disorder known as Long QT Syndrome.
Not only did Walton have to deal with coming out from under his parent’s shadows (Walton founded Walmart after all), but he also had to deal with going through a life-threatening procedure – implantation of an automatic cardioverter-defibrillator into his chest in order to combat the disease.
However, Walton made sure that his life would continue onwards by using his MBA degree from the University of Arkansas to get a job with the Fayetteville store.
17. Karl Albrecht
This German business magnate is estimated to have an estimated net worth of $23 billion dollars (#11 on Forbes World’s Billionaires list ) – having made all of his fortunes by means of running and owning the ALDI food/discount supermarket that he co-founded with his late brother Theo.
The company that they founded in 1946 (they started out with only a small grocery store) now operates over 10,000 stores across Europe and America.
That’s not too bad for two guys who used to be simple farmers when their father could no longer support their family’s farm when WWI ended. It was after the end of WWII that Albrecht co-founded ALDI with his brother in 1946.
Although Theo died back in 2010, Karl continues to lead the company today – with over 1.5 million employees currently working for ALDI .
18. Phil Knight
This entrepreneur is worth an estimated $19 billion dollars (#13 on Forbes World’s Billionaires List ) and he rose to fame by means of founding one of America ‘s most popular sports/athletic/footwear companies – NIKE, Incorporated (whose stock symbol is actually NKE ).
This Portland Oregon based business was founded back in 1964 and has since grown over the years into a global empire thanks to the reputation and high-quality products and services provided by Nike (especially their signature “swoosh” logo and their high performance/high fashion Air Jordan line of footwear).
Knight first started out as a University of Oregon track athlete, but an injury caused him to switch to coaching.
19. Steve Ballmer
This American businessman is estimated to have an estimated net worth of $18.1 billion dollars (#15 on Forbes World’s Billionaires list ) – making his fortune from having been the former chief executive officer (CEO) for one of the world’s largest software companies: Microsoft Corporation .
He has since retired from that post back in February 2014 after years of working hard at building up the company into what it is today (the largest software company in the whole wide world – which does pretty well with its Windows Operating System software).
While many people see the company’s founder Bill Gates as being the primary driver behind Microsoft Corporation , most forget that Ballmer was actually present at the company during its early years too – even before Gates became involved with it.
20. Amancio Ortega Gaona
This Spanish business mogul is worth an estimated $83 billion dollars (#2 on Forbes World’s Billionaires list ), making him the world’s richest person today in terms of net worth.
He is known all around the world for founding and owning one of his nation’s largest clothing companies: Inditex S.A. This fashion giant currently has over 6,400 shops worldwide (with stores like Zara, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, etc…) and had over $15.4 billion dollars (with a b!) of revenue for the first quarter of 2014.
This successful self-made billionaire first got his start all the way back in 1963 when he first co-founded Zara with his ex-wife Rosalia Mera who died from a stroke back in August 2013 – has been extremely skilled at making extremely fashionable yet affordable clothing that appeals to pretty much everyone.
In fact, even Vogue Magazine has nothing but good words to say about this guy’s company and their excellent line of products!
What do you think? Did your favorite entrepreneur make it onto this list? Let us know by leaving a comment below!