Who are the Greatest Entrepreneurs Ever and Why?

This is a list of entrepreneurs who have impacted the world with their business acumen and larger than life ideas of entrepreneurship.


Being an entrepreneur and entrepreneurship are more than just the activities of setting up a business and taking on financial risks in the hope of profit. It is the creation or export of value through business activities. In this light, entrepreneurship is viewed as change, generally entailing risk beyond what is typically confronted in starting a business, including other implications than simply financial ones. Those who have gone up and beyond the conventions have made an indelible mark in the history of business.

From the Gilded Age to the dot-com boom and today’s technological expansion, here we list each unique and outstanding entrepreneur ever and why they are considered so.

John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller is considered the richest man in recorded human history. Rockefeller attained this feat through horizontal and vertical integration and capacity increment in the 20th-century American oil industry. 

Rockefeller’s mark in the business world is so immense that his legacy continues to exist even today through companies like Exxon Mobil and natural gas liquids company ConocoPhillips.

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie’s humble beginnings, as a Scottish immigrant in a poor town in Pittsburgh to running steel factories in the US, is one of the ages-old tales of rags to riches. His mills led the technological revolution of the era. Carnegie employed the best minds in business and combined the innovative process with the long-term goal of acquiring industry equipment in any market crisis. 

Andrew Carnegie’s legacy – which is solid and moral – differs from his contemporaries. He pioneered philanthropy through his vast wealth and gave away most of his fortune to the cause while calling upon other wealthy moguls to do the same.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was undoubtedly one of the most innovative creators and inventors of late 19th and early 20th centuries. Along with science, his business intelligence and entrepreneurial skills further enlarge his legacy as a pioneer of unmatchable entrepreneurship. 

Edison was the inventor of what is now known as the research and development “R&D” technique. He was one of General Electric‘s (GE) patrons and created many technologically advanced companies, including Edison Electric and Con Edison.

Henry Ford

While Henry Ford did not develop the automobile, he certainly is the most associated person with cars. This is because Ford’s unique business model, the Ford Assembly Line, changed the automobile history. Henry Ford promoted the automotive industry for many years, and his company continues to supply great cars for the masses well into the 21st century. 

Ford put his entrepreneurial skills to the fore and unleashed the power of mass production with his large factories that produced the first-ever car for the masses- the Ford Model T. Ford’s progressive labour policies and his constant drive to make each vehicle better, faster and cheaper made sure that the world would think of Ford when they shopped for a car.

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A greatest entrepreneur ever is made by not just their innovative products and services but by their vision of delivering uniqueness and value.

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel completely changed women’s clothes and dressing culture in the 20th century. She is credited for the birth of the Little Black Dress (LBD), a fashion statement that is still popular today and is likely to last for many years to come. 

Inspired by Catholicism, Coco Chanel wanted to create something simple and practical for women’s fashion. One skill that allowed her to be a thriving businesswoman was her creativity. Chanel thought outside the box when it came to style, especially when she conceived the signature ‘little black dress’. She always found new ways to achieve flawless results and reinvented the fashion industry singlehandedly. 

Walt Disney

Walt Disney began his career as an animator for an advertising agency. He began directing his animated shorts in his studio garage in the 1920s when the agency eschewed his idea of a cartoon character- Mickey Mouse. Disney created ‘Mickey Mouse’, taking inspiration from a mouse in his office. And the rest is history. The character became a commercial success which allowed Disney to build an animation conglomerate that featured animators, musicians and performers. 

By banking on his unique ideas and mixing new ways of doing business, Disney turned Mickey Mouse into a range of theme parks, movie entertainment venues and businesses. After his death, the growth of Disney and Mickey Mouse continued and today, The Walt Disney Company is the largest mass media company in the world.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is often described as “rich, competitive and smart”. And these adjectives definitely fit his persona as an innovator and entrepreneur. His entrepreneurial instincts and innovative approach have made him one of the most successful and influential ‘financial’ people globally. 

Gates not only won the so-called race for making mass operating systems (OS) and Internet browsers at the end of the 20th century, but he also won the financial race of forming the most valuable technology company. 

With Microsoft, Gates has benefited and influenced an entire generation of entrepreneurs, and his name is written in the history as an entrepreneur in golden words.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is an outstanding example of the entrepreneurial spirit due to his ability to overcome disappointment. From the Tesla brand’s mechanical breakdown in the initial stages to rocket crashes that nearly bankrupted SpaceX, he has faced many blows throughout his journey. Musk has set an impeccable example for aspiring entrepreneurs with his constant commitment, vision, adventure, and personal growth. It is these qualities only that have made him the second richest person in the world in 2021.

Mark Zuckerberg 

Mark Zuckerberg had a clear understanding of the vision in his mind before starting his world-changing venture – Facebook. He was focused on what changes his business idea would convey to the world. He is an entrepreneur of the modern age. His development of Facebook has helped social media become a crucial tool in current business tradition for marketing and publicity to promotional deals.

Aakash Sharma
Aakash Sharma
Aakash writes on Startup Ecosystem, Policies, Legal and Regulatory aspects of business planning. An alumnus of Delhi University, he is assistant editor at Dutch Uncles.

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