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Last updated: 14 March 2024

The Richest Female Entrepreneurs of 2016

33 women entrepreneurs who built their billion dollar fortune through their business.

2016 has brought us 33 women entrepreneurs who built their billion dollar fortune through their business. There are 190 women out of the 2016 list of 1810 billionaires, but the 33 female entrepreneurs below have inspired countless women on their entrepreneurial journey. These women account for less than 2% of the world’s billionaires, and come from various parts of the globe like China, Hong Kong, USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, and Russia.

Their business expertise lies in industries such as real estate, healthcare, internet technology, fashion, and many others. These female entrepreneurs have brought into light big business names like ebay, Gap, and Benetton. The youngest women entrepreneur to become a billionaire is just 32 years old.

The infographic below summarises the findings about these brilliant women.

Women Billionaires

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Key Facts and Numbers About Women Entrepreneurs

Women have always owned businesses. In the earlier times women ran public houses and similar enterprises. While World War II brought many women into the workplace, it also inspired many of them to start a business on their own. The societal and cultural changes of the 60’s and 70’s represented significant empowerment in the business landscape for women. Over the past decades, women started breaking free from traditional gender specific roles and started playing a bigger role in the business world.

Female Entrepreneurs

Nowadays, women entrepreneurs represent one-third of all entrepreneurs worldwide. Although the number has been increasing over the last couple of years, what keeps the ratio unequal are the challenges that female entrepreneurs face. Women mostly lack the access to financial resources, information, training, and business networks. Reconciling business and family concerns is also one of the challenges that female entrepreneurs face.

Another interesting fact is that the workforce of female-owned firms are typically more gender equal. According to one study, women entrepreneurs are more likely to employ a more gender-balanced staff. On average women employ 52% women and 48% men, while male business owners employ 38% women and 62% men.

Employment of Men and Women

The Best Countries for Female Entrepreneurs

Which are the most female entrepreneurship friendly countries? Researchers at the Global Entrepreneurship & Development Institute (GEDI), analysed 77 countries and assessed the factors indicating the ability to start and grow a company.

The outcome of the research - The Female Entrepreneurs Index (FEI) - measures how these countries’ environment enables female entrepreneurship development. In the framework of the analysis were factors such as opportunity perception, willingness to start, networking, cultural support, technology, quality of human resources, competition, gender gaps, product innovation, internationalisation, and external financing.

Based on the findings, the researchers scored the countries from 0 to 100. Key findings show that the USA ranks first at 82.9, more than 8 points ahead of Australia. Other countries with a strong ecosystem for female entrepreneurs are the United Kingdom, Denmark, Netherlands, France, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, and Norway.

Fei Graph Countries
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