12 Most Successful Women Entrepreneurs (2023 Update)
Many successful female entrepreneurs have inspired and motivated other female entrepreneurs and small business owners to aim for higher success in the business world.
Female entrepreneurs have excelled at whatever they involve themselves in. Undoubtedly, women have faced discrimination and difficulties in their bid to become successful female entrepreneurs.
Successful female founders have the right entrepreneurial mindset and essential characteristics and skills to build successful businesses. In the 1940s, Ruth Fertel, owner of “Ruth's Chris Steak House,” created the best steak house restaurant in New Orleans.
This article will cover several successful women entrepreneurs whose innovations and business success inspire us.
The Most Successful Women Entrepreneurs of All Time
Women entrepreneurs are performing outstanding feats in their areas of expertise.
There is no particular order for ranking the most successful woman entrepreneurs. These powerful women are on this list because of their net worth, ability to empower women, and inspiring entrepreneurial journey.
1. Lynda Resnick
Net Worth: $5 Billion
Lynda Resnick is a popular name when speaking of successful women entrepreneurs. She founded The Wonderful Company with her husband, Stewart Resnick.
The Wonderful Company is a holding company that boasts over $4 billion in annual revenue. Company activities have allowed Lynda to partner and work with several innovative brands and projects, including POM Wonderful, The Teleflora Company, and Fiji Water.
Lynda is a successful entrepreneur who is worthy of emulation because of her acts of self-motivation, philanthropic character, and business acumen. She is a woman who still yearns for more despite achieving great things in the world.
2. Oprah Winfrey
Net Worth: $2.6 Billion
Oprah Winfrey is a media personality, business owner, and entrepreneur. She is the owner of the Oprah Winfrey Network and several other entrepreneurial enterprises in the world.
Born into a low-income family in Mississippi, Oprah Winfrey grew up with her single mother, who strived to keep up with society and cater to her child.
She stated that she was molested while growing up and during her teenage years. However, Oprah refused to allow her circumstances to deny who she was meant to become. She started her TV show career at the age of 19 as the anchor of the local evening news.
Oprah Winfrey confidently conveyed information to the audience during news hour. It spurred her career; much later, she changed careers and entered the daytime talk show industry as a talk show host.
After transforming a third-rated local Chicago talk show into the top-rated show in its time slot, she started her production firm and media empire. Before launching Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), of which she is the CEO, she continued hosting her talk program until 2011.
Winfrey acquired an equity position in Weight Watchers International in 2015 and took on the spokeswoman for the well-known membership weight loss program. According to Forbes, Winfrey has a $2.6 billion net worth.
3. Sheryl Sandberg
Net Worth: $1.7 Billion
Sheryl is one of the most successful women entrepreneurs in the world, not just because of her present net worth but also because of her contributions to supporting women entrepreneurs.
Her achievements include serving as the first female member of Facebook's board of Directors. Sandberg is a motivation to many and has helped several individuals to understand the power of conviction, skill, and focus.
Sheryl was born in 1969 in Washington, D.C., to a Jewish family. Being the oldest of three siblings, she was exposed to leadership at a young age. She enrolled at Harvard University in 1987 and graduated in 1991.
Sandberg also attended Harvard business school and graduated in 1995. She started working at Meta as the company's COO after a few years at Google and, in Mark Zuckerberg's description, “a perfect fit for the role.”
Sheryl Sandberg is also the founder of LeanIn.Org, a humanitarian foundation supporting women's aspirations and objectives.
Net Worth: $500 Million
Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter is an award-winning musician that has been an important inspiration and benefactor to several men and women worldwide.
Widely known for her amazing musical talent, she has also been able to succeed in entrepreneurship and make more money for herself.
She is the founder of Parkwood Entertainment, a music label and entertainment company that she co-owns with her husband, Jay-Z. The couple has sold more than $300 million in album copies worldwide.
Beyonce was born on the 4th of September, 1981 to Mathew Knowles, a sales manager at Xerox, and Celestine “Tina” Knowles, a hairdresser and salon owner. Her father, Mathew, is African American, while her mother, Tina, is a Creole from Louisiana.
Beyonce’s younger sister Solange Knowles is also in the entertainment industry. Solange is a singer and was a backup dancer for Destiny’s Child. The two sisters hold the achievements of becoming the first sisters to achieve two number one albums.
In 2008, Forbes began documenting her earnings and reported an average annual revenue of $80 million between 2007 and 2008. She got her earnings from tours, concerts, films, and a clothing line she owns.
Beyonce has shown her capability and willingness to support women entrepreneurs and small businesses with financial aid and an idea or two when needed. She is known for her amazing philanthropic exploits.
During her early days of stardom, Beyonce experienced depression due to her parent’s separation and other causes. However, successful people are most known for overcoming troubles like these.
She also appeared on Women’s History Month and several other platforms recognizing her commitment and selfless service.
5. Sara Blakely
Net Worth: $1.1 Billion
Sara Blakely is a famous female businesswoman and philanthropist who founded the brand Spanx from scratch and found success through it with very little money.
Blakely's fortune increased because her products were promoted by another famous female entrepreneur, Oprah Winfrey, after being turned down by numerous possible investors.
She entered the “Time 100” list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012. Also, in 2014, she was ranked 93rd on Forbes' list of the most powerful women in the world.
Blakely is one of the most influential women entrepreneurs in the world, and she has the numbers (net worth and annual revenue) and her activities to show for it.
She founded The Sara Blakely Foundation in 2006 and received a check for $750,000 from her mentor Richard Branson.
Blakely donated $5 million to assist women-owned businesses during the coronavirus epidemic in 2020.
The “Giving Pledge” recognized Blakely as the first female billionaire to commit to contributing at least half of her wealth for charity purposes.
6. Arianna Huffington
Net Worth: $100 Million
Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington is one of the world's most successful authors, columnists, publishers, and businesswomen. She established the Huffington Post in 2005. Six years later, she sold the company to AOL for $315 million.
Arianna authored a book titled “The Female Woman.” The book is a critique of the Women's Liberation Movement in general and The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer from 1970.
According to the book she authored, “Women's Lib argues that achieving ultimate emancipation will improve the lives of all women, but in reality, it would only do so for those with strong lesbian tendencies.”
Huffington is among the world's most powerful women entrepreneurs. She founded several online communities, one of which is Thrive Global.
Thrive Global is an online community focusing on mental health, wellness, behavioral change, and emotional balance. Her contribution to young women and our society makes her one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in the world.
7. Janice Bryant Howroyd
Net Worth: $610 Million
Born on the 1st of September 1952, Janice is a businesswoman, mentor, entrepreneur, educator, and ambassador.
She is the founder and serves as the executive chairman of The ActOne Group, the biggest privately held, minority woman-owned staffing firm established in the United States.
Howroyd is renowned for being the first woman of African descent to start and own a billion-dollar business. In 1976, Howroyd relocated to Los Angeles, California, and took a temporary secretary position at Billboard magazine for her brother-in-law Tom Noonan.
When Howroyd worked at Billboard, Noonan exposed her to decision-making in ways she had never experienced before. He also introduced her to business executives, celebrities, travel, diversity in the workplace, and business practices.
With a little more than $1,000 and armed with expertise and experience in the field, in 1978, Janice Byrant Howroyd established her own business, The ActOne Group.
This company was initially located in a modest Beverly Hills, California office, and she had Tom Noonan as her first customer. She continued to concentrate on providing employment services and made it to the limelight.
According to Bloomberg L.P., ActOne Group, Inc. offers workforce management, employment, and procurement solutions to Fortune 500 firms as well as small and midsize businesses and governmental entities.
Companies in the ActOne Group include AppleOne, All's Well, AT-Tech, ACT-1 Personnel Services, Agile-1, ACT-1Govt, ACheck GLobal, and DSSI, which offer personnel and recruiting services to various industries.
She is also an ambassador of the Department of Energy's Minorities in Energy Initiative, Women's Business Enterprise National Council, WeConnect, National Utilities Diversity Council, and several other organizations.
Her philanthropic activities include assisting universities such as North Carolina A&T, Harvard University, University of Southern California, California State University, and San Bernardino.
She also supports minority-serving organizations and women's support groups (WBENC, WPO, The Trusteeship, NMSDC, Urban League, LAEDC, and NUDC.) Through her efforts and public appearances, she mentors and inspires others.
Top Women Entrepreneurs In India
Entrepreneurship is a growing trend in India, and most women are involved. According to Forbes India, women make up 13.76% of Indian entrepreneurs and own 20.37% of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in India.
In this section, we will list some of the top women entrepreneurs in India, explore their success journeys, and explain why they are an inspiration to other women entrepreneurs.
8. Indra Nooyi
Net Worth: $100 Million
Indra Nooyi is an Indian-American businesswoman, a former CEO, and chair of PepsiCo. In 2017, her final year at PepsiCo, she earned $31 million.
Aside from that, Indra is a successful author and powerful woman who achieved the top positions very few women have gotten in the world. She is currently part of the board at Amazon and Phillips.
Although there is not much info about Indra, she is notable for several other achievements and awards. Forbes magazine named Nooyi among the top 100 most powerful women worldwide from 2008 to 2017.
The CEOWORLD magazine named Nooyi one of the “Best CEOs In The World” in 2018.
Indra Nooyi is a philanthropist. She and her husband gave 187,000 scholastic books to Connecticut's partner school districts during the COVID-19 crisis.
9. Vandana Luthra
Net Worth: $6 Million
Vandana Luthra is a popular and successful woman from India. She was born in New Delhi in 1959 to a Mechanical Engineer father and a mother who was an Ayurvedic doctor.
Her mother ran a non-profit organization known as Amar Jyoti. You can say her background spurred her interest in aiding lives around her.
Vandana is the founder of VLCC (Vandana Luthra Curves and Curls), a business built for beauty and wellness. Her business is located in New Delhi and is responsible for designing plans and regimens for dietary programs, exercise, and weight management activities.
VLCC also offers skin and body care services to individuals seeking help from their cosmetics line. Vandana deeply cares for and understands the human body and mind; it further portrays itself in her business.
Luthra serves as vice chair of the nonprofit organization Khushi, which offers programs like telemedicine facilities. The organization also owns a remedial school with a facility for 3,000 children and a center for skills training.
Her willingness to support The Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust, her mother's movement, shows this.
The Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust developed the concept of teaching children who have disabilities equally from kindergarten through eighth grade. Currently, over 800 youngsters are enrolled in the Trust's two schools.
Vandana Luthra is known for several awards, including the Enterprise Asia Awards. She was presented with the Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2010.
Forbes Asia listed her among the top 50 Power Businesswomen in the APAC area. Luthra was ranked 26th (which includes Asia, Australia, and New Zealand).
Only 8 of the 50 featured women achievers were from India. A very inspiring feat for younger women entrepreneurs in the world to follow.
10. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Net Worth: $2.8 Billion
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is India's richest female entrepreneur. She is recognized worldwide for contributing to biotechnology's growth and several other innovations and philanthropic actions.
Her hard work, decades of experience, and various steps for raising capital and funding for her vision are inspiring. She is one of the few female entrepreneurs who started her business from humble beginnings.
Kiran personally pooled her resources together without any partners or investors, just a solid business plan, and it paid off. She is the founder of Biocon Limited, a Biotech company located in Bangalore, India.
After graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Zoology from Bangalore University, she failed to obtain a scholarship to attend medical school.
She studied malting and brewing at Melbourne University at her father's advice and was the only female student taking the course at the time and came out top of the class.
Kiran graduated from the course and earned the title of Master Brewer in 1975. However, due to segregation and other factors, she could not get a lead role as a brewmaster in India's brewery sector.
She did not let segregation and gender bias stop her from achieving her life-long goals and desires.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw met with Leslie Auchincloss in 1976 while Leslie sought a partner to help supply him with Papain and develop the Biotech market in India.
She co-founded the new Biocon India along with her husband, John Shaw. Mazumdar-Shaw is also known for her philanthropic activities, including her benevolence to people with cancer and several others.
Without a doubt, Mazumdar is an amazing co-founder, superwoman, and one of the world's most successful female entrepreneurs.
Young Female Entrepreneurs You Should Know
Net Worth: $1.7 Billion
Rihanna is the world's most famous woman entrepreneur in the entertainment industry. At just 34 years of age, the award-winning singer-songwriter is the Chief Executive Officer of her own business, Fenty Beauty.
Robyn Rihanna Fenty is the co-founder of Savage X Fenty, a lingerie line with valuable angel investor backing. She began her entrepreneurial journey in 2009 while exploring beauty lines and other feminine products.
Rihanna founded the Clara Lionel Foundation, which raised $47 million in 2020 for many causes, including COVID assistance, racial justice, and the environment.
She was among Forbes' list of America's Richest Self-Made Women in 2020 and is a great example for successful businesswomen.
12. Kylie Jenner
Net Worth: $1 Billion
At 25 years, Kylie is the youngest and most successful female entrepreneur in entertainment. Kylie Jenner made her broadcast debut early as a co-star of the reality series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” which also included family members.
Along the way, Jenner must have received some wise business counsel pushing her to start her own business. She is now a wealthy businesswoman and entrepreneur who has amassed more wealth than any other lady of her age.
Jenner is the second most followed person on Instagram and the most followed woman. She expertly uses social media for advertising her brand, Kylie Cosmetics.