Unfortunately, only one in four UK women can name a female entrepreneur. One of the main reasons for this lack of knowledge is probably that we simply don’t hear as much about female entrepreneurs through traditional media. It’s unsurprising that few people can name women in the business world when corporate coverage tends to focus on men, who still make up the majority of business owners. On a smaller scale, research shows that of all those who started a business in 2012, 73% were men and seven out of every ten sole traders were also men. You can’t be what you can’t see! So, getting more women into key leadership positions in business is essential if we want to encourage more women to become entrepreneurs in the first place. Continue reading to discover a few of the most influential, female entrepreneurs who continue to inspire the world with their hard work and innovation.
The ultimate entrepreneurial icon, Oprah Winfrey has worked her way to the top of the entertainment business. After working in television for over 25 years, she now owns a production company, a magazine and a television network. She has also written five books and starred in many films alongside her ongoing philanthropic work. Overall her net worth is over 2.7 billion dollars! Her passion for helping women into business has been clear from the start of her career and is something we should all learn from.
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J.K. Rowling was a newly single mum on benefits when she began writing Harry Potter in coffee shops around Edinburgh. We all know and love her written work; which made her richer than the Queen! But it is her continued entrepreneurial skills which make her stand out in the business world as well as the publishing realm. In a series of savvy moves, J.K. Rowling was able to capitalise on the success of her books by signing lucrative movie deals, as well as being involved in business ventures such as Harry Potter World (London) and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Los Angeles). Her involvement with The Cursed Child (West End Theatre production) and The Fantastic Beasts films (which she wrote) have also demonstrated her tenacity and flexibility in other industries.
Kate Morris is the founder of Australia’s first and longest-running beauty e-commerce site, Adore Beauty. Morris started off on the Clarin’s counter at a department store while she was at university. She became aware that many women don’t like coming into the beauty section of department stores as it can be intimidating. So, she saw an opportunity for a fantastic business venture and started up her own online beauty retailer in 1999. Her belief in cruelty-free products has helped to make her business a success, and she continues to benefit from the shift in popular attitutudes – it’s reported that 70% of people now want to end animal testing. Kate Morris shows that you don’t have to compromise your principles to do well in business.
The Huffington Post was co-founded by Arianna Huffington, as a writer and columnist. She is currently ranked as one of the world’s richest and most powerful women. Her success in a male-dominated industry serves as an excellent example for all women who want to break into the media or news business.
Athlete, tennis player and superstar Serena Williams has been playing at the highest level of tennis for well over 20 years! She is currently one of the richest tennis players in the world and loves to spend her money on investing in female-owned start-up businesses. Her tennis prowess has made her a worldwide phenomenon, but her marketing skills and sponsorship deals have had an enormous impact on the whole of the sports world and the way these deals are made. Her promotion of equality in tennis and her desire for equal pay has also helped tennis become a fairer sport for women and men alike.
Diane von Furstenberg
The fashion designer who invented the classic wrap dress over 30 years ago is still an inspiring role model for would-be entrepreneurs. Her ability to bounce back from failure is particularly notable. When her wrap dress was first unveiled to the world during the ‘70s, it did incredibly well, but demand dipped after a few years. Diane Von Furstenberg did not let this dissuade her from pursuing other business ventures, or from relaunching her fashion company in 1997, which now has an annual turnover of 200 million dollars!
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