Despite all the odds, hindrances and the gender discrimination that is prevalent in global business world , there is a subset of women who started it from scratch and made giant fortune for themselves using great vision, innovative ideas and hard work.
Sourcing the data from a well-known business magazine that conducts research on the super rich, we have compiled a list of the wealthiest self-made women who have started it from the scratch and acquired immense wealth.
The list includes famous personalities like Oprah Winfrey as well as lesser-known names such as Doris Fisher – Founder of Gap.
10. Doris Fisher
An American businesswoman and philanthropist Doris Fisher cofounded the Gap clothing stores with her husband and today boasts of a net worth of $2.6 billion. Her Husband Donald Fisher died in 2009 but the company remains a retailing giant with more than 3,700 stores, and 150,000 employees.
Doris is also an avid art collector and has a huge collection of more than 1100 art works. She loaned her life-time collection to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to support it become the largest modern art museum in the U.S
09. Giuliana Benetton
Today with a net worth of $2.8 billion Giuliana Benetton made a humble beginning of a giant empire that dates back to the 1950s, when she used to knit sweaters and her brother Luciano would sell them off. The duo, along with their brothers Gilberto and Carlo, decided to start selling their merchandise in the Veneto region of Italy. Fifteen years later the family company was officially launched with Giuliana supervising the knitwear collections and product lines in the role of company’s chief designer. Benetton Group – in the past half century – has grown to more than 5000 retail stores across more than 120 countries and is generating more than $2 billion in sales.
08. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah born as Orpah Gail Winfrey in Mississippi US to a house maid mother and a coal miner father is today a house hold name thanks to her popular talk show ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’ It is interesting and inspiring to know that while today her net worth is $3 billion and she has been cited as the richest African-American of the 20th century she doesn’t even come from a middle class family. From poverty to a troubled childhood she saw it all before struggling her way to the media industry in the 1970 as a TV news anchor in Baltimore.
Fourteen years later she moved to Chicago to host a morning show that later became ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’ With her debut as a film actress in a period drama The Color purple she hit it big time. The movie landed her an Oscar nomination and let her to work in many movies after that. She started Harpo Studios – where she went on to host her show for 25 years – in its peak earned her $300 million a year.
07. Pollyanna Chu
CEO of Kingston Financial Group, Golden Resorts Group, and Sincere Watch Pollyanna is a business woman from Hong Kong. Brought up in Hong Kong she moved to San Francisco at the age of 18 and attended Golden Gate University to earn a bachelor’s degree in management. Not so long after she married Nicholas Chu who she met during studies in San Francisco and they started California real estate investment business. Following the success of California real estate they later moved back to Hong Kong to pursue their business and founded Kingston Financial Group–named after their son Kingston. The company has since continued to grow leaps and bounds and has made her net worth $3.1 billion.
06. Wu Yajun
A Chinese businesswoman Wu Yajun is the third wealthiest woman in China and fifth irrespective of the gender with a net worth of $3.2 billion. She started her career as an engineer at an instrument manufacturer in her hometown and later switched to journalism.
Six years later a bad experience of apartment buying led her to start a real estate business. In the year 1995 She and her husband founded The Chongqing Zhongjianke Real Estate Co Ltd which later became ‘LongFor Properties.’ She is currently the chair woman of the company.
05. Elizabeth Holmes
At 19, Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford and founded Theranos to pursue a vision of inventing cheaper, pain free and needle free diagnostic tests. The technology would only require a few drops of blood and finger pricks reducing cost and pain for patients. With a net worth of $3.6 billion, at 32 she became the youngest self made woman billionaire in the world.
04. Denise Coates
With a net worth of $3.8 billion Denise Coats is the fourth richest self-made woman in the world. She is an English business woman and the founder of online gambling company Bet365.
While still at school she started working in the cashier’s department within the family firm Provincial Racing. This is where she learned the ropes of gambling. Her Online betting site BET365 was launched in 2001 and since then has grown in to one of the largest online gambling companies of the world
03. Diane Hendricks
Born in Wisconsin to dairy farmer parents Diane Hendrick is third wealthiest woman of the world who made her fortune from the scratch.
She along with her husband and business partner Ken Hendricks cofounded ABC Supply in 1982 that started growing quickly. It expanded soon selling an array of building construction material roofing, windows all over America.
She also owns Hendricks Holding Company and part of her $5.1 billion come from it. She is currently the owner and chair person of ABC Supply.
02. Chan Laiwa
The owner of Fuwah International Group Chan Laiwa is listed as the second richest self made woman in the world. Fuwah International Group is Beijing’s largest commercial property investor & developers.
She founded the Group in 1988 that has projects for construction and operation of Shopping malls, luxury Hotels, Residential and commercial buildings in China, Auckland and New Zealand. Her estimated worth is $5.2 billion.
01. Zhou Qunfei
World’s richest self made woman Zhoe Qunfei has an inspirational story of rags to riches. She pioneered Lens Technology-the major touch screen maker that makes her current net worth $6.4 billion.
Born and raised in a poor household in rural China she was the only one among her siblings to attend secondary school. Although she was bright and hard working she dropped out of the school at 16 and started working as a migrant factory worker in Shenzen to support her family. With her glass making experience, at the age of 22, she established her company and involved the whole family to begin her own business. She got her big break by Chinese electronics giant TCL Corporation in 2001 to make mobile phone screens for them. Today her company Lens Technology makes the glass screen for Samsung and Apple phones and employs more than 60,000 people.
Even though the wealthiest of the world remain in the boy’s club with only four women making it to the list of top 50, still there is no dearth of self made super rich women who have been successful building huge fortunes. They have overcome insurmountable difficulties and struggled their way in to landing the top ranks of the wealthiest women in the world. Not only these women have built giant empires earning immense wealth but are also behind some of very successful and famous brands. They are definitely here to stay inspiring millions of women across the world to follow their footsteps.