Coming up with seven known Entrepreneurs, who have been the most influential throughout the last 500 years, was definitely a tricky challenge!
You have to take into account that there have been influential entrepreneurs that have a smaller net worth than some of the wealthier businessman. They may have just been more influential in their work or through inspiring generations or other companies to make things easier and simpler for our world to consume.
Our 7 influential entrepreneurs as you will see, created something that sparked the worlds imagination, set off a frenzy of healthy competition and marvellous innovation.
‘Entrepreneurs are not born, they’re made’ was coined by English multi-millionaire Peter Jones CBE. In many senses this is completely true, as you will see in this list that many of our entrepreneurs had a brain wave or a eureka moment that got their entrepreneurial wisdom. This is how some of the greatest ideas that we now use in our daily lives have come from.
‘Influential’ is defined as ‘having the power to create change.’ This can be any person who is willing to create that change. ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’ was made famous by Mahatma Gandhi. He used this term to express that one person can influence a generation, and can also influence an opinion for the greater good.
Becoming an influential entrepreneur is all about adding these elements together. Imagining an idea within yourself and then using that idea to create a solution to a common problem. The quotes above pretty much sum up why becoming someone with influence is all about creating something that has the power to create change within other people.
So with this in mind, let’s get started with the first entrepreneur on the list:
7. Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins is an American life coach and self-help guru. He is known as being one of the most influential coaches around and has helped over 4 million people from over 100 countries. His products range from $9.99 for a self-help book all the way to $1 million for private coaching. He has helped influence many peoples decisions for finding passion in life and helping people rekindle love and happiness. He is also known for making cameos in films and appears in Shallow Hal, Reality Bites and an episode of The Sopranos. Tony funds products and programmes in 2,000 schools, 700 prisons and over 100,000 human service organisations.
6. Richard Branson
Richard Branson is best known for founding his company Virgin. He started Virgin in 1971 with his first record store on Oxford Street, London. He then went on to create Virgin Records which became a success due to Mike Oldfield signing and releasing the album Tubular Bells which featured in the film The Exorcist. Branson later signed artists such as the Sex Pistols, Culture Club and Faust. Branson currently has over 35,000 personal employees working for the Virgin brand and does business in over 100 countries. Other parts of the franchise include airlines, money, mobile, and many others.
5. Bill Gates
Bill Gates is well-known as being the co-founder of Microsoft. He started the company with Paul Allen in 1975 and went on to create the first Microsoft 16 bit software for IBM in 1981. Microsoft was known for creating software rather than personal computers and went on to launch over 18 different versions of the Microsoft software. In 2001, Microsoft launched the XBOX which generated massive success. They also went on to launch the Tablet PC in 2002, which caught the eye of some healthy competition with other software creators. Microsoft is known as an innovative company having designed suites for personal data collection. Then in 2008 Bill Gates stopped his major role at Microsoft and stepped down as CEO to concentrate on his charitable passions. He now works with his wife Melinda to help stop hunger and poverty across the world.
4. Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg began using software and writing code in middle school. He was primarily taught by his father but later took classes to better his talent. Zuckerberg later went to Harvard to study psychology and computer science. It is at Harvard where Facebook was born. Zuckerberg got the idea originally from books all students received when introducing new students from different dorm rooms. By the following Monday after Facebook was launched, Harvard shut off access to it as the huge amount of people trying to access the site led to a network fault in the Harvard system. Zuckerberg later went on to rebuild the site within the next semester, but was accused of misleading and stealing Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’ idea for a site called HarvardConnection.com. The twins were given 1.2 million Facebook shares, which amounted to around $300 million worth at Facebook’s IPO. After all of these shenanigans, Mark Zuckerberg is a man who has inspired a generation of developers (for app development) and social interaction at the touch of a button. His net worth is expected to drop by half of what it currently is at within the next decade, as he pledged to give away half of his wealth throughout his lifetime to charitable organisations.
3. Henry Ford
Henry Ford was born in 1863 to William and Mary Ford. He was brought up on a farm in Michigan, where he started collecting watches to repair. This spark of wanting to repair things came after his father bought him a pocket watch. Very suddenly, Fords mother passed away, and this left him in a devastated position. He no longer wanted to work on the farm and chose to work as a machinist with a few businesses in Detroit. Ford then went on to create his first propelled machine called The Ford Quadricycle which led him to meet Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison very much approved of Ford’s work and helped fund Ford’s designs and creations. In 1903, Ford created the Ford Motor Company which started Ford’s adventure into the mass market and need for automobiles. His first biggest hit in the mass market was the Model T which was easy to drive and cheap to repair. Once the Model T hit the mainstream market, the Ford Motor Company was known by all.
2. Steve Jobs
The brains behind Apple. The entrepreneur who sparked off a revolution in design and innovation. Steven Paul Jobs passed away in 2011, but left behind his own mark in the world of innovation. After dropping out of college, Jobs started work at Atari (the American video game company) and there he learnt most of the technical side of building videogames and computers. Soon after Jobs started the Apple Computer Company with Steve Wozniak (the brains behind the computer circuit boards.) Apple had their highs and their lows, with Jobs departing in 1985 to form NeXT Inc. After stints at Pixar/Disney, Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 after NeXT Inc. was bought out by Apple in a deal worth around $450 million. Jobs then became CEO of Apple and later went on to release the iPod, the iTunes Store, the iPhone and the iPad. He is hailed as one of the greatest innovators of all time and ranks number 2 on our list of the most influential entrepreneurs ever!
1. Tim Berners-Lee
Unknown to a few, Tim Berners-Lee is the man behind the World Wide Web. In 2004, he was knighted by the Queen for this life changing creation. Born in London, Berners-Lee was one of four children to Mary Lee Woods and Conway Berners-Lee. Both of his parents are well-known as being extremely talented mathematicians and computer scientists. They influenced Tim from a very young age and apparently worked on computers with them from a very young age. At the age of 34, Tim implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (also known as a HTTP client) and a server via the internet sometime later on in 1989. Tim went on to create the World Wide Web in 1994, but had an original name of the Information Management System. Tim now directs the World Wide Web Consortium which is there to oversee the webs continued development. He also works with a lot of different governments to make sure that more information is accessible to the world, as well as more people having access to it. He has a net worth of $50 million but says ‘this is for everyone’ meaning that his creation was to serve man for faster information. He is ranked number 1 on this list for the reason explained above. There are over 20,000 new websites created everyday which gives him our highest influential spot.