Success is the most desired mistress in the world and because she exists in many forms, willing to make herself whatever a person wishes she were, she is extensively desired by everyone. However, in the hierarchy of success, there are famous entrepreneurs who have taken the possibilities beyond human imaginations. Through their hard work, ingenuity, they have created empires that have taken a life of their own. They say human beings cannot create life, but not this group of people whose empires have come webbed into how we live our lives, integral to our continued survival and comfort as a species.
From Bezos to Richard Branson, those who had an idea to build something great and refused to listen to distractors or their self-doubts as they set out to conquer the world, actually do it. Like one of the entrepreneurs on our list once said – “those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, actually do”.
In this list, we cover 10 famous entrepreneurs who have built large organizations.
1. Oprah Winfrey – Famous Entrepreneurs
Oprah Winfrey is first on our list for nothing other than the fact she is, if not the best, definitely one of the best rags to riches stories in the world. One day, if a fantasy film was made based on her life, the traditional happy ending common among Hollywood films would be completely realistic in her case.
Today, she is the richest African American in the world with a personal wealth worth over $3 billion, but that wasn’t always her story. She grew up in extreme poverty as the daughter of a teenager who got pregnant without a husband and had to work as a housemaid to survive. As a child, she wore potato sacks to school, and like her mother, she had a child as a teenager, but it died as an infant. She also suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her family members and her mother’s friends.
At the age of 19, the tide began to turn for Oprah who became the news anchor for WTVF-TV. From her very first radio gig at the age of 19, Oprah worked her way up to bigger radio stations and eventually television.
She became a billionaire after she launched her own production company and eventually a talk show, which she used to revolutionize the tabloid talk show genre. She is considered one of the most influential people in the world.
2. Walt Disney
If there are 10 major media events happening in the world in a calendar year, Disney owns five of them. The giant media company was the vision of one man, Walt Disney. He always wanted to be an artist and he started off on a farm, drawing cartoons. He made early attempts to get a job as a newspaper cartoonist but he failed and ended up at an art studio where he created ads and eventually fell in love with animation and created his own animation company.
After the establishment of his company, his first creation was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit but it was owned by Universal Pictures under the terms of the contract he signed with the production company. He later walked away from his contract with Universal Pictures. His first creation after leaving Universal Pictures is the iconic Disney character, Mickey Mouse.
He is one of the greatest film producers and voice actors to ever live. He has 22 Oscars to his name from 59 nominations. While he was an extremely successful actor and film producer, his biggest success and lasting success came from his business endeavors.
Not satisfied with the success of his production company, Disney Studios, he ventured into the amusement park industry, opening Disneyland for the first time in 1955. Today, Disney owns everything from the greatest amusement parks in the world to television networks and some of the most popular franchises in the world.
The company he started, The Walt Disney Company is today worth $110 billion.
3. Steve Jobs
It is difficult to make a list of the most famous entrepreneurs without naming the man whose ideas revolutionized mobile telecommunication as we know it. The founder of the world’s most valuable company, Apple Inc. is one of the greatest entrepreneurs to ever live.
Steve Jobs led the breakthrough in modern computing with the Macintosh and Apple II. Although he was forced out of his position as the CEO of Apple in 1985, he returned to the company in 1997 and created the most significant success of the company’s history with the creation of products like iMac, iTunes, iTunes Store, Apple Store, iPod, iPad, App Store, and the biggest and most notable of all, the iPhone.
Today, the company he helped create before he died in 2011 at the age of 56 is worth over $1 trillion.
4. Mark Zuckerberg
When Hollywood has made a film about your life, there is a pretty big chance that you are successful and more importantly, famous and that was the case when a movie about his life and his creation, Facebook was released on October 1, 2010. Mark Zuckerberg is the creator of the world’s biggest social media network, Facebook.
He created the social network in his first year at Harvard before dropping out in the second year to focus on the development of the website. Today, the social network has over 1 billion users.
Even though the network has come under repeated fire for its part in government elections and some of the possibilities on the platform, it hasn’t stopped Mark Zuckerberg from building a wealth worth of $50 billion. His creation – Facebook – is worth over $400 billion.
5. Bill Gates – Famous Entrepreneurs
Today, he has rebranded himself as the billionaire man of the people with his various philanthropic projects and donations. He also plans on giving away all of his money when he dies.
However, before he developed an image of Bill Gates, the nice guy he was known as a ruthless CEO on his road to creating the world’s most popular operating system, Windows. His company, Microsoft is the world’s largest company software company that revolutionized personal computing and made computers and technology ubiquitous.
Right from a young age, Bill was committed to programming and his exceptional skill and creativity helped him to create Microsoft whose products now range from operating systems to gaming systems to its own hardware lineup.
He currently performs his philanthropy through his organization, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Through his foundation, he has donated over $28 billion to charity.
6. Jeff Bezos
Amazon will eventually take over the world and Jeff Bezos will rule the entire world from his penthouse. The richest man in the world who doesn’t seem to be interested in slowing down is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Amazon, the biggest retail company in the world.
An idea that started in a garage, Jeff Bezos has grown the company into a global phenomenon and become the richest man in history in the process, with a net worth of over $150 billion.
While Amazon is his signature company, he has other companies such as Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and Bezos Expeditions. With Blue Origin, he intends to become the leading company for commercial suborbital human spaceflight.
7. Elon Musk
Ultra-rich people are not usually one of the most beloved people in the world, but the South African-born billionaire Bill Gates have cultivated a reputation of the people’s favorite. While Gates has grown his reputation through philanthropy and general sweetness, Elon’s reputation is from his unconventional behavior.
Elon Musk is known as the brain behind some of the revolutionary companies in the world, Paypal, SpaceX, Tesla, and Neuralink. He also owns the Boring Company. All companies he intends to use as vehicles in creating a better world.
His companies have helped him to a net worth of $22.8 billion.
8. Jack Ma
Amazon may have conquered the Western world as the biggest e-commerce company but Alibaba owns the East. Alibaba is one of the biggest companies in the world and it is the brainchild of Jack Ma, a Chinese businessman, and investor.
Jack Ma, was rejected by 30 companies before he started his own company has grown a net worth of $38.6 billion. His company started as a website building site for Chinese companies. Today, the company and its resources have grown to become Alibaba Group, which is today estimated to be worth a whopping $352 billion.
9. Jay Z
Born Shawn Corey Carter, Jay Z has been one of hip hop’s most influential artists since he came onto the scene in 1986. He has been able to release several commercially successful albums, holding records like the most number one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200.
With the wealth gathered from his music career, he has invested in several business endeavors like Rocawear. With his several investments, Jay Z has been able to launch several businesses of his own like Roc Nation and Tidal.
His investments in several companies have helped him build a net worth of $900 million. Using his fame and influence, he recently helped raise $1.7 billion to end world poverty.
10. Jack Dorsey
Jack Dorsey is famous for being the founder and CEO of the social media company, Twitter, one of the most popular social media companies in the world. He is also the founder of Square, which is a mobile payments company.
Twitter, which he helped co-found has over 3 thousand employees and is currently worth $4.4. billion while the co-founder himself is believed to be worth $6.8 billion.