As some of you may know my new book, The Billion Dollar Dreamer, is soon to be launched! This is a very exciting time for me and really got me thinking about the women entrepreneurs who have worked hard and claimed their dreams. The women who inspire me to be the best I can be every day. When you visit the Forbes world billionaires list it really hits home that women entrepreneurs are not only few and far between but also little-known names.
Has anyone heard of Liliane Bettencourt? No? Well, let me tell you… Liliane is the first lady on the Forbes World’s Billionaires list! In 1907 Liliane inherited her father’s cosmetics empire and in 2017 her net worth is $39.5 billion dollars!
It’s interesting to go through the Forbes list and take a look at each person’s ‘self-made score’: a ‘self-made score’ of one indicates that their fortune was completely inherited and a score of ten tells us that they are a self-made success.
The first woman entrepreneur you will find who is recognised as ‘self-made’ is Rafaela Aponte. Rafaela met Gianlugi, a ferry ship captain who soon became her husband, and together in the early 1970s they launched Mediterranean Shipping, MSC, with just $5,000 and a ship to transport goods between Europe and Africa. Together they are self-made successful entrepreneurs, but are there any women entrepreneurs featured on the list who have made it on their own?
Scrolling right down (straight past far too many faces of aging white men) to number 186 we find Zhou Qunfei, founder and CEO of Lens Technology. Zhou is a self-made billionaire, and her story is film-worthy…at sixteen she dropped out of school and started working in a factory, using her evenings to attend classes such as accounting and fire safety at her local university. Using the little money she made at the factory she founded her own company making watch lenses in 1993. Just a decade later, Motorola got in touch with her to help them develop a scratch-proof glass for its new phone. Following her successful work with Motorola other phone companies contacted Zhou for her expertise. In 2017, Zhou has 32 factories and employs more than 90k staff. She is the most successful woman entrepreneur on the Forbes list with her net worth at $7.4 billion.
The next self-made female billionaire is once again part of a husband and wife team that together co-founded a business which you may have heard of…Little Ceasar’s Pizza! After marrying in 1954, Marian and Michael Ilitch co-founded the renowned chain in 1959. Michael sadly passed away in early 2017, the family’s net worth is currently over $6 billion. The family currently come in at number 239 on the Forbes billionaires list.
Jumping down to Pollyanna Chu, listed at number 334, she is a self-made billionaire independent of her family’s hotel and casino business which could have easily supported her financially. Instead she has tripled her wealth in the last two years by launching her own financial group. Pollyanna is named as one of Forbes top 100 power women of 2016, ranking at number 42 and her net worth is currently at almost $5 billion. Pollyanna is a real inspiration as she refused to take the easy road of taking on her family’s business, instead she has truly made a name for herself.
Be inspired to make a name for yourself, visit the Forbes world billionaires’ list. You will not only be inspired by the women entrepreneurs but also by the stark reality that the list is predominantly made up of older, white males. This short blog post was designed to give you a snapshot into the list of female billionaire visionaries and now I want to call upon you to deliver your vision, whether that’s to be a self-made billionaire or to write your own novel. As your vision midwife, I want to help you push to successfully deliver your vision, let me help you, sign up for my email insights and stay inspired. We can do this together.