10 of the Richest Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide

10 of the Richest Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide

In the spirit of Spring blossoming, women’s history month, and making that green -  we’re going through a list of 10 Richest Female Entrepreneurs worldwide! 

From industries like Construction Supply, Health/Wellness, Apparel, Hospitality, and Entertainment, you too have what it takes to be self-made, and you can look damn good while doing it!

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Diane Hendricks

Hendricks, the daughter of dairy farmers from Beloit, Wisconsin, owns one of America's largest wholesale home supply distributors. She originally started the business with her late husband, Ken, who she met while already making moves in the industry. She gives back to Beloit's hometown by rebuilding neighborhoods for local development. At 74, Hendricks is currently worth $11 Billion and still resides in Wisconsin. “I've always been very driven and knew that to get where I wanted to go, I could never give up.”

Thai Lee

Lee was born in Bangkok, Thailand but grew up in South Korea before moving to the United States as a teenager. She later earned her degree in biology and economics from Amherst College and graduated from Harvard Business School with her MBA. Lee and her former husband, Leo Koguan, bought a software reseller in 1989 for less than a million dollars, to which they built their wealth into IT provider SHI international. SHI has more than 20,000 customers, including large corporations like AT&T and Boeing. She also holds a position on the board of Sonde Health, a biopharma company. Lee is worth $4.1 billion and currently resides in Texas. 

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is a household name, but we still felt the need to add this baddie to the list because she represents a small intersection of Black female billionaires. At 68 years old, you’ll often hear Oprah tell her story as a young girl with nothing, enduring abuse to having one of the most successful talk shows ever and now a media business empire. With hit TV shows like “Queen Sugar” and “Greenleaf” on her entertainment channel OWN, and movies like “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” Oprah has shed light on Black stories. She has not only gained success with Black audiences. She has inspired women all over the world. Oprah is worth $2.7 billion. “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Elaine Wynn

Elaine Wynn became the largest shareholder of publicly traded Wynn resorts just four years ago when her now ex-husband Steve Wynn stepped down as CEO amidst sexual misconduct allegations. Her boss moves forced two longtime board members and associates of her ex-husband to resign as well. Before stepping into such wealth, Wynn worked for her father's bingo hall while in college before moving to Las Vegas with Steve Wynn to start Mirage Resorts in 1973. A savvy businesswoman, philanthropist, and art collector - Wynn has donated large sums of money to education performing arts and is co-chair of LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). At 79 years old, Wynn is worth $2.2 billion. 

Jayshree Ullal

Ullal was born in London, England, and raised in New Delhi, India. She later moved to the United States for college, earning her master’s in engineering. Her degree leads her to have several positions at various computer engineering companies like Cisco and Crescendo Communications. At Crescendo, Ullal played a prominent role as president of marketing for the first Copper Distributed Data Interface and first time Ethernet change. Ullal is now president and CEO for the cloud networking company Arista Networks, known for 100 Gigabit Ethernet networking. At 60, she is worth $2.3 billion and currently resides in Saratoga, California, with her family proving women can not only hold but expertly manage a profitable career in male-dominated industries.

Sheila Johnson

Sheila Johnson founded Black Entertainment Network, AKA BET, with former husband Robert L. Johnson. She’s credited for being the first African-American woman to have a net worth of at least one billion dollars. Johnson came from a family of accomplished parents, with her father being a neurosurgeon and her mother an accountant.  Johnson’s plan for BET was to make it the EBONY magazine of entertainment. However, Johnson and her then-husband sold BET to Viacom for $3 billion in 2001, publicly denouncing it for its programming (before they sold), and divorced her husband of 33 years in 2002. Now she makes her living investing in hotels, planes, real estate, and horses. She also executive produced the film, The Butler in 2013. At 73, Johnson is worth $750 million and is the only Black woman to own stakes in three professional sports teams: WNBA Mystics, NBA Wizards, and NHL Capitals. 

Reshma Shetty

Shetty is the co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc., a synthetic biotech company aimed at making biology easier to engineer and replace technology used for food, energy, health, and material with a new bioengineered organism. A graduate from the University of Utah with a degree in Computer Science and graduate from Massachusettes Institute of Technology with a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering, Shetty opened a facility in Boston to spearhead research in the Coronavirus pandemic. Shetty is only 41 years old and is worth $750 million. “We didn't start Ginkgo to make money or because we wanted to be 'founders' or because we thought it was a cool thing to do. We did it because we wanted to make it faster, cheaper, and easier [to do research].”

Heather Hasson

Hasson is the Co-CEO and Co-founder of the healthcare apparel line FIGS. This lifestyle brand makes technically advanced products for modern healthcare professionals founded in 2013 with business partner Trina Spear. Seeing a specific need for something often overlooked, Hasson and Spear revolutionized what scrubs could be with practicality, durability, function, and style so healthcare professionals could be comfortable in a rather challenging industry. At only 40 years old, Hasson is worth $625 million and is a graduate from the University of Wisconsin, currently residing in Las Vegas.

Rachel Carlson

Our youngest self-made woman on this list at just 33 years old, Carlson is the Co-Founder and CEO of Guild Education with business partner Brittany Stich. Guild Education manages education assistance benefits offered to employees by Fortune 1000 companies like Chipotle and Walmart. With a passion for helping people with their education, Carlson assisted her co-founding father of the organization American Honors with coaching community college students. She later created an app called Student Blueprint while earning her MBA from Stanford to help community college students find jobs. After researching low graduation rates with Stich, they founded Guild Education valued at $3.7 billion in 2021. Carlson herself is worth $500 million. 

Linda Alvarado

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Alvarado started her construction company Alvarado Construction with a $2500 loan from her parents in 1970, from them mortgaging their home. Starting with concrete sidewalks, Alvarado eventually moved on to projects like bigger public spaces for schools, museums, and stadiums, including the Denver Broncos’ Mile High Stadium and Colorado Convention Center. As President, Founder, and CEO of the largest construction company in America, Alvarado has four offices throughout the nation and sits on the board of Pitney Bowes, Pepsi, and Qwest. She also owns MLB sports team franchise Colorado Rockies and restaurant franchises like Taco Bell. Alvarado is considered the first Latin woman to bid ownership of an MLB team and, at 70 years old, is worth $230 million. 

Whether you’re a spring chick, someone in their golden years, Black, Asian, White, or Latinx, there’s plenty of room for self-made women to gain wealth and inspire generations after them. 

All you need is a niche idea like Heather Hasson, a leap of faith like Linda Alvarado, big brains like Thai Lee, the need to make a difference like Rachel Carlson, or the right investments like Sheila Johnson. But most importantly, you need to start!

There are more women billionaires and millionaires beyond this blog, and we want to know will you be the next self-made woman? We love to see the list grow, so let us know in the comments which industry you will dominate? 

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