Female Entrepreneurs
Female Entrepreneurs

The likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and the Google guys are well publicised. And while the figures suggest it's still very much a man's world when it comes to billionaires (the top 10 riches people in the world are all men), the world's richest women also receive their fair share of press attention.

But what about the ladies who made their way onto the rich list not through inheritance, but through their own hard graft and business acumen?

Using figures from Forbes and other authority sources, here we pay tribute to the female entrepreneurs who have built themselves and their fortunes from the ground up, We look at the fortunes of both the top ten in the whole world and also just those in the UK, and have listed profiles of each influential women, their net worth...

... and purely for dramatic effect, what they could buy with their extensive fortunes.

1

ZHANG YIN
NET WORTH: $5.6BN (£3.5BN)

Born in 1957, Zhang Yin has established a number of paper exporting companies since the 1980s. Her biggest success and the main source of her astronomical fortune came in 1995 when she founded Nine Dragons Paper Holdings with her second husband. The family-run company imports scrap paper from the US and uses it to manufacture cardboard for use in Chinese goods exportation.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

A 289-YEAR STAY AT THE
MOST EXPENSIVE HOTEL
IN THE WORLD

(PRESIDENT WILSON HOTEL, GENEVA AT $53,000/£35,000 A NIGHT.)

2

WU YAJUN
NET WORTH: $4.9BN (£3BN)

Wu Yajun founded Longfor Properties in 1994. Having come from an engineering and then journalistic background Wu had very little experience in property development when she set up the real estate company. Following her tremendous success she has kept a notably low profile and very rarely acquiesces to interview or autograph requests.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

A NECKLACE MADE UP OF 18 HOPE DIAMONDS
EACH VALUED AT $250M/£156M, WITH $150M/£94M LEFT OVER FOR SOME MATCHING EARRINGS.


3

CHEN LIHUA
NET WORTH: $4BN (£2.5BN)

61-year old Chen began her life in poverty, but saw early success during the mid-70s with a furniture repair business. After a few years she fell into real estate in Hong Kong worked her way up to became the President of Fu Wah International, earning her fortune in the last few decades with a massive (and expanding) property and business portfolio.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

AROUND 1,350 BOEING 747s
(THERE ARE ONLY AROUND THIS MANY CURRENTLY
FLYING TODAY)

4

ROSALIA MERA
NET WORTH: $3.5BN (£2.2BN)

Alongside husband Amancio Ortega Gaona, Mera founded the fashion giant Inditex fashion giant in Galicia, Spain. Since the first store opened in 1975 (under the Zara brand name), the company acquired and created a number of subsidiaries worldwide and employs close to 100,000 staff across its stores. Mera and Ortega divorced in 1986.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

THE CONSTRUCTION OF 69 QUEEN ELIZABETH 2
CRUISE LINERS

AND A MILLION BOTTLES
OF CHAMPAGNE TO TOAST
THEIR LAUNCH

5

XIU LI HAWKEN
NET WORTH: $3.2BN (£2BN)

Xiu Li Hawken is one of China's 7 self-made female billionaires (there are only 14 worldwide) though she is now officially a UK citizen. Her fortune comes from real estate and she is the biggest shareholder in Renhe Commercial Holdings. Very little is known about Hawken or her family's personal life.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

THE MALDIVES... TWICE
(BASED ON THE COUNTRY'S GDP OF JUST OVER $1.6BN/£1BN)

6

YELENA BATURINA
NET WORTH: $2.9BN (£1.8BN)

Yelena Baturina is the only Russian woman with a net worth greater than $1bn (£0.6bn). Baturina married Yuriy Luzhkov (Moscow's mayor between 1992 and 2010) and the source of her vast wealth comes from her plastics company, Inteco, which she founded in 1991. Her net worth fell dramatically during the height of the credit crunch.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

THE PRODUCTION COSTS OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE FILM EVER MADE, JAMES CAMERON'S AVATAR TEN TIMES OVER.

7

OPRAH WINFREY
NET WORTH: $2.7BN (£1.7BN)

Not only is Oprah Winfrey one of the richest self-made women in the world, she's also one of the most influential according to such institutions as CNN, Time, Forbes and Entertainment Weekly. Her $2.7bn (£1.7bn) wealth saw her become the world's first ever black female billionaire, and the only black billionaire between 2004 - 2006. In addition, her annual earnings are believed to be in the region of $250-$300m (£156m to £187m).

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

THE WORLD'S MOST EXPENSIVE PAINTING EVER SOLD, 19 TIMES OVER
(JACKSON POLLOCK'S
NO.5, 1948)

8

CHU LAM YIU
NET WORTH: $2.6BN (£1.6BN)

At forty years of age, Chu Lam Yiu is currently the world's youngest self-made female billionaire. Chu amassed her personal fortune as the the head and majority shareholder of Huabao International, a company which makes flavours and fragrances for cigarettes, food and synthetic goods.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

APPROXIMATELY TWO BUCKINGHAM PALACES AND THREE WINDSOR PALACES

9

DORIS FISHER
NET WORTH: $2.5BN (£1.5BN)

Fisher established The Gap, inc. alongside her husband Donald in August 1969, opening a small San Francisco store which sold jeans and music. Today there are over 3,000 Gap stores across the world (incorporating brands such as Banana Republic and Old Navy). Fisher also owns a collection of over 1,000 contemporary art pieces.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

FIVE BILLION DAY TICKETS TO ALTON TOWERS
(OR A SEASON PASS GOOD FOR 18.5 MILLION YEARS)

10

GIULIANA BENETTON
NET WORTH: $2.1BN (£1.3BN)

With her three siblings, Benetton kick started the self-named family fashion business in 1965 by knitting sweaters which her brother Luciano would sell from the back of his bicycle (their father owned a bike shop). Another significant source of Giuliana Benetton's personal fortune comes from Atlantia, a large toll-road company, and the Autogrill restaurants worldwide.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

4,200,000 iPADS,
ENOUGH TO STRETCH FROM LONDON TO BERLIN IF LAID END TO END.

1

J.K Rowling
NET WORTH: $1BN (£624M)

Jo Rowling's success is the archetypal rags to riches story. While living on state welfare, she began writing what was to become one of the world's most profitable book franchises. Rowling was given a $2,400 (£1,500) advance on Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1995, and was advised by her publishing company to get a day job as financial success for the book was slim.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

THE WHITE HOUSE, NEARLY FOUR TIMES OVER
(WHICH WOULD GIVE HER A TOTAL OF 528 ROOMS
TO WRITE IN)

2

Jacqueline Gold
NET WORTH: $860M (£537M)

Gold worked a few low-paying jobs, including work experience at her father's newly acquired Ann Summers chain of stores. It was here that she hit upon the idea of the Ann Summers Party Plan - a home marketing scheme for selling sex toys and lingerie.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

1,933,333,333 pints of milk
enough to fill 440 Olympic swimming pools.

3

Martha Lane Fox
NET WORTH: $500M (£313M) (estimated)

Martha Lane Fox founded lastminute.com alongside Brent Hoberman at the peak of the dot com bubble. Lane Fox stood down from the company in 2003, just as the profits started to fall. Lastminute.com was sold in early 2005.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

4 and a half London Eyes.
(OR 14.7 MILLION TICKETS TO RIDE THE ATTRACTION ITSELF)

4

Karen Brady
NET WORTH: $131M (£82M) (estimated)

Heralded as the first lady of British Football, Karen Brady started out in advertising but quickly caught the keen eye of publisher David Sullivan. Under his encouragement and financial backing, she bought and managed Birmingham F.C. at the age of 23.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

Nearly 700,000 Tesco value footballs

5

Rita Sharma
NET WORTH: $71M (£44M) (estimated)

Sharma is the UK's richest Asian female entrepreneur and with her husband, Rahul Sharma, is within the top twenty richest Asian families in Britain. She got to the top with Worldwide Journeys, a bespoke London travel agency established in 1986.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

178 AVERAGE PRICED HOUSES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM,
WITH ENOUGH LEFT OVER TO PAY THE COUNCIL TAX ON MOST OF THEM FOR A YEAR

6

Michelle Mone
NET WORTH: $63M (£39M) (estimated)

Mone grew up in relative poverty in Glasgow before finding work as a model. After running a sales and marketing team for the Labatt's brewing company, she made the decision to create a range of support bras after the idea came to her whilst wearing an uncomfortable bra during a dinner parter. MJM International Ltd followed soon after and took Mone to great fame and fortune.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

Average annual mortgage bills (including council tax) for 2,161 people in britain.

7

Deborah Meaden
NET WORTH: $63M (£39M) (estimated)

Well known as her appearances in BBC's show Dragon's Den, Somerset-born Meaden ran a string of successful businesses but made the maority of her wealth in the family tourism industry. It is estimated that she has invested over £1.5 million during the course of her run on Dragon's Den.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

A 2,191 year stay at Butlin's holiday camp.

8

Katie Price
NET WORTH: $57M (£36M) (estimated)

Katrina Amy Alexandria Alexis Infield, better known as Katie Price or her pseudonym Jordan, started her road to financial success as a topless glamour model for The Sun. Her controversial relationships and various business ventures have ensured she is never too far from the public eye.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

over 5 million retail copies of her debut fiction novel.

9

Nicola Horlick
NET WORTH: $36M (£23M) (estimated)

Dubbed Supermum by the tabloids for bringing up six children and juggling her duties as a hedge fund manager during the eighties and nineties. Her current company, Bramdean Asset Management, brought her huge success following a high-flying (though turbulent) London finance career. It is believed her wealth was affected as a direct result of Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme. Her next project seems to be in film.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

3 million film tickets
at Odeon

(double the figure if she has an Orange phone contract.)

10

Delia Smith
NET WORTH: $36M (£23M) (estimated)

Smith's foray into cookery came at the young age of 16 following a compliment from her then-boyfriend. A short stint on television followed in the early seventies and her rise to fame has snowballed since then - her influence as one of the country's most popular chefs was demonstrated when her show Delia's How to Cook aired in 1998 and subsequently caused a 10% rise in egg sales.

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WHAT SHE COULD BUY WITH HER NET FORTUNE

What she could buy

Around 86 million average priced eggs.
(IT WOULD TAKE NEARLY 300,000 YEARS FOR A SINGLE HEN TO PRODUCE THIS AMOUNT)

Women and Wealth - The Hard Facts

In Britain

  • Women account for nearly half of the millionaires in Britain - around 46% of the country's 242,000 millionaires are female. This is predicted to rise to 53% by 2020 and 60% by 2025.
  • The wealth gap between male and female millionaires is also narrowing. A decade ago, the average male millionaire was worth $4.3m (£2.7m), compared with $2.1m (£1.3m) for females. In 2009, these figures were around $4.8m (£3m) and $3.2m (£2m) respectively.
  • The combined wealth of Britain's 100 richest women is more that $52.8m (£33bn).
  • Women are less reliant on inheritance and divorce settlements for wealth than you'd perhaps expect - around 38% of Coutts Bank's female clients have gained their wealth through salary alone.
  • When figures were first recorded in 1984 there were just 645,000 self-employed women in the UK. This number is now above a million.
  • The most entrepreneurial age group for women is 35-44.
  • Recent government figures show approximately 50% of all small and medium-sized firms are now run by females.
  • Women are significantly more likely than men to find it challenging to balance personal and professional matters. Excluding maternity leave, 38% of females have 'seriously considered' leaving work for over a year (compared to 26% of men).
  • Almost two-thirds of female entrepreneurs have children, with almost half having at least one child living at home. Only 35% had no children.
  • After the US, the UK has the highest proportion of women in managerial positions, with 117 female directors of FTSE 100 companies and 77% of those companies having at least one woman on their board.
  • 40% of female entrepreneurs claim their role model or inspiration for starting a business was another female entrepreneur.

In The US

  • Women business owners employ 35% more people than all the Fortune 500 companies combined.
  • Women in business will invest $44.5bn (£27.8bn) in high tech products in 2011.
  • 65% of women in senior management positions have children.
  • Women own more than 47% of stocks in the US.
  • Today there are 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., representing nearly 40% of all businesses.
  • In the US economy, women employ 27.5 million people and generate more than $3.6 trillion (£2.2 trillion) in sales.
  • Women are starting new firms at twice the rate of all their male counterparts.
  • Since 1984, the number of women in graduate schools has exceeded the number of men.
Posted by Hannah