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1. Oprah Winfrey

There's an injustice there that is built into the economy. We all have a place in that.

Richard Cheatham - Meet John Rolfe: America's First Great Entrepreneur - PorcFest X

Co-founder and CEO: Releaf. Franco Brockelman's mother wanted to use cannabis to ease her arthritic pain, but she didn't know which strain would be best -- and neither did anyone else. Because marijuana is still largely restricted, government-sanctioned research organizations face mountains of red tape when trying to study its effects.

Brockelman decided to fill the void by building Releaf, an app that collects real-time data from opt-in users. His service then finds patterns of who is helped by what and how, ultimately identifying which varieties of medical marijuana may be best for an individual's illness. Co-founder and CEO: Carrot. For decades, fertility treatment was a luxury out of reach for most workers; most companies simply didn't include it in their benefits packages. And although Tammy Sun built Carrot's software to help companies include it, a very limited range of businesses actually got on board -- mostly wealthy tech firms like Foursquare and Coinbase.

Carrot helps companies contribute what they can to cover procedures like IVF and surrogacy, and also serves soon-to-be-expectant employees with clinic matching.

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But in the past year, she's noticed a shift in culture: Employees are demanding coverage, and companies outside of tech, such as financial services and retail, are turning to Carrot for a solution. General Motors may be one of America's oldest carmakers, but these days it's been acting like a moonshot-taking startup. Under the leadership of Mary T.

Barra, the only female at the helm of a top Fortune company, GM has a fresh focus on autonomous driving and car sharing, and talks of an ultimate goal of decreasing crashes, emissions and congestion to "zero. It's a signal that the industry giant isn't just keeping up with Silicon Valley-level innovation but leading it. Chef and founder: World Central Kitchen. Food has the power to change the world," says chef Jose Andres. It's a credo he lives by, and one that caused him to spring to action in the fall of , when Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico.

I am a cook, and we cooks are people who don't wait around to be told what to do. We just act. Later, with the help of private donations and government funding from FEMA, Andres and his not-for-profit World Central Kitchen which he founded in response to the earthquake in Haiti would scale up to produce , meals per day from 26 different kitchens across Puerto Rico.

His team has since prepared 3. And on top of that, she worked. She runs a company that makes women's skis and snowboards, and her team needs her. So why take the trip? But what's the point of hard work if there's no time to enjoy the spoils?

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Taking this on taught her a lot about effective remote working -- chiefly that it takes tremendous preparation, with months of developing systems she used a lot of Slack and Skype and meeting with team members to firm up relationships. After it all, she says, "everything seems doable, because I did one of the most difficult things. In , Netflix offered Kevin Kwan the deal of a lifetime: In a bid to turn his best-selling novel series, Crazy Rich Asians , into a film trilogy, they'd provide up-front seven-figure-minimum payouts for the movie's stakeholders.

He turned them down. It sounds crazy, indeed, but Kwan wanted this film to hit the big screen. Crazy Rich Asians would be the first Hollywood studio rom-com to feature Asian leads, and the first studio movie in 25 years to have an all-Asian cast. Hollywood studios release their box office numbers -- so if it was a hit, everyone would know. Of course, if it was a flop, everyone would know that, too. Netflix never shares viewership numbers, so its results would be secret. So he signed on with Warner Bros. Co-founder and CEO: 23andMe. Anne Wojcicki wants to give consumers affordable access to potentially lifesaving information.

This March, 23andMe became the first company to receive FDA authorization to sell direct-to--consumer cancer-testing kits without a prescription. The company also recently announced plans to study the genetics of depression and bipolar disorder, and has partnered with GSK to use genetic insights to develop new medicines. Co-founders: Afrobytes. Ammin Youssouf and Haweya Mohamed believe the future growth of the tech industry is in Africa -- but that vision isn't shared by most investors.

To change perception, the duo launched Afrobytes, a series of conferences in Paris, New York, Hong Kong and other cities, which gather African innovators and international investors under one roof. This year, top tech players like Google, Instagram and Alibaba participated in their gatherings. VP of research and development: Belden. Most companies turn away candidates who fail drug tests. Belden's manufacturing plant in Richmond, Ind. We saw a need to address the shortage of workers available.

Founder: Morgan's Inspiration Island.

16 Legendary Women Entrepreneurs

Gordon Hartman had already made a first-of-its-kind place: In , inspired by the needs of his physically and cognitively challenged daughter's struggle to make friends at a swimming pool, he called together a group of passionate people -- doctors, therapists, teachers, parents of special--needs children -- "to come up with big ideas," says Hartman.

In , he opened Morgan's Wonderland, an ultra--accessible theme park in San Antonio for kids of all abilities. Last year, he came full circle, expanding the successful concept to a water park: Morgan's Inspiration Island, with waterproof wheelchairs, a splash pad for those sensitive to the cold and other inclusive features. Co-founders: Relativity Space. Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone, college buddies who got their start at USC's Rocket Propulsion Lab, believed they could 3-D-print an entire rocket made of only 1, parts -- instead of the typical , To get their venture off the ground, the pair cold-emailed Mark Cuban to ask for funding.

And then a 3-D-printed-rocket company using technology no one has ever developed before, and having to reinvent processes people have relied on for 60 years in building aerospace products? It was borderline crazy. Founder: The RealReal. When making her investment pitch for The RealReal, Julie Wainwright sensed that investors saw four strikes against her: "I was a woman, old enough to be most of their mothers, I wanted to launch a fashion business and I wanted to use an unproven concept," she says. But she also had a laser-sharp vision: to bring the luxury consignment market online, handling authentication, appraisals, shipping and sales.

Wainwright is the former CEO of Pets. She suspected that the operation of a secondhand luxury fashion market would prove unattractive to Amazon. She also knew that eBay was cluttered with knockoffs and bad photos. So in March , having failed to hook investors, Wainwright bootstrapped her site and began shipping purchases that June.

Wainwright hints that business is so brisk, a retail expansion is now under way. But as much as those figures may raise eyebrows in Silicon Valley, it's The RealReal's recent campaign partnership with designer Stella McCartney that's earned the attention of global fashion brands. The initiative -- called The Future of Fashion Is Circular -- marks the first time a luxury brand is actually encouraging consignment rather than turning up its nose at it. Co-founder and CEO: goTenna. Brazilian-born Daniela Perdomo was living in Brooklyn in October when Hurricane Sandy struck, leaving large swaths of New Yorkers without power and internet service.

Rather than gripe about the communication gap during times of crisis, Perdomo decided to do what telecom giants couldn't: Close it. She co-founded goTenna with her brother, Jorge, and set out to create "the most scalable, completely mobile mesh architecture that's ever existed. The first iteration launched in , and in , goTenna introduced a game-changing upgrade: goTenna Mesh, which adds on mesh-networking capability.

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Each goTenna acts as a node in a network. The more nodes in your vicinity, the more your range expands and the stronger and more reliable your communications become. It's tempting to liken the handheld device to a long-range walkie-talkie, but it's decidedly more sophisticated. With a walkie-talkie, messages are broadcast to the public and interfere with everyone's airwaves. But with goTenna, hundreds or thousands of people can send targeted, encrypted communication at once -- without straining the network.

Last September, when Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, volunteers set up public goTennas so residents could call hospitals for medical help, coordinate supply deliveries, and reassure loved ones they were safe. And we should be asking more questions about the resilience of our infrastructure.

In the wake of the Parkland, Fla. Such calls have come and gone before, but this time an unexpected brand agreed. Dick's Sporting Goods said it would no longer sell the items, and would no longer sell firearms to anyone under the age of Hunting products make up about 10 percent of the company's sales, but CEO Edward Stack was willing to take the hit. But it could have been. But Russell Ladson is thinking closer to home.

Imagine your browser, but as a degree environment. But Ladson really sees Drop as a core utility tool for developers. Founder and CEO: Rivian. Back in , RJ Scaringe started an electric vehicle company with one ambition: build a sporty car, and become quickly known. But after raising some money and hiring a team, he asked himself a question. Tesla already did what he'd set out to do. So he pivoted to electric SUVs and trucks built for adventures, and worked quietly for years.

The team is excited but adapting.

The 50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs in

To make Ralph relevant again, Louvet is building off what he learned reviving brands like Pantene and Clairol -- but of course, he's now working at a higher price point. To that end, one of his first moves was to pull stock from 25 percent of all department stores -- part of his war on markdowns, which he believes have cheapened the brand. Louvet is also overhauling digital efforts, rebooting e-commerce, developing "smart" in-store changing rooms, hiring a digital chief, and fleshing out the board with Apple and Etsy executives.

Founder: Hello Sunshine. Everyone knows Reese Witherspoon can make a good movie. The Academy Award--winning actress long ago proved her production chops with the films Gone Girl and Wild. But in , Witherspoon launched production company Hello Sunshine to create wide-ranging content for women and in the past year alone announced a podcast network with Rooster Teeth, an Oprah-style book club and partnership with Audible and a brand-new VOD television channel. With every project, Witherspoon is investing in her big-picture goal: proving that women are valuable, hungry consumers of content.

Co-founders: Women on the Block. They gathered an all-women panel and launched Women on the Block, the first all-female blockchain conference; proceeds supported women in technology. Local news can be a revolving door of disappointment. But this past June, Chicagoist the Chicago offshoot of Gothamist found an unexpected savior: Twenty-five-year-old hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper, the sole winner of a Grammy for a streaming--only album, bought and relaunched the news site.

He says he sees it as an opportunity to give "the people of Chicago an independent media outlet focused on amplifying diverse voices and content. Creator: Nomadness Travel Tribe. This past summer, Oakland, Calif. Members of this demographic have been stereotyped as non-travelers, but statistics show that the black community is traveling in increasingly higher numbers -- so Robinson is taking the lead. Her company began as an online community but evolved into an event producer, consultancy and retailer focused on millennial travelers of color, attracting 21, members and partnerships from big brands like GoPro, Hyatt and Airbnb.

Misha Nonoo used to be like every other fashion creator: She'd make clothing and then wind up with inevitable extra inventory at the end of each season. In the fall of , she rebuilt her business to ensure there'd be no overstock. Everything would be on-demand, with clothes ordered, produced, shipped and delivered in just five days.

Now nearly 80 percent of revenue comes from her Easy 8 collection, eight pieces that mix and match to form a full wardrobe. Co-founder and CEO: Even. About 78 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, which makes them vulnerable to payday lenders and overdraft fees. He envisioned a platform that would help people budget, save and get an advance on their paychecks without punishing interest rates. That would require working with employers and banks -- and in December , he got his test case: Walmart made his app, Even, available to its employees. More than , people signed up, and 75 percent use it every week.

Now other companies want it -- and Even is hustling to meet the demand. Can video games save the ocean? Emily Orrson thinks it's worth a shot. When Minecraft -- the online video game in which users create 3-D worlds -- introduced an ocean-themed update this year, the product marketing manager saw an opportunity to do even more. She launched the Coral Crafters project and partnered with gamers, YouTubers and an elementary class in Monterrey, Mexico, to design real-life structures that were placed off the Cozumel coast. They're made from Biorock, a material that can regenerate coral.

In October , allegations of Harvey Weinstein's repeated sexual abuse and harassment led to a chorus of MeToo stories from women across the country. There is no doubt that Edison was brilliant, but it's his business sense, not his talent as an inventor, that clearly shows his intelligence. Edison took innovation and made it the process now known as research and development. He sold his services to many other companies before striking out on his own to create most of the electrical power infrastructure of the United States. Although Edison had far more patents than he did corporate ties, it is the companies that will carry his legacy into the future.

Henry Ford did not invent the automobile. He was one of a group working on motorcars and, arguably, not even the best of them. However, these competitors were selling their cars for a price that made the car a luxury of the rich. Ford put America - not just the rich - on wheels, and unleashed the power of mass production in the bargain. His Ford Model T was the first car to cater to most Americans - as long as they liked black.

Ford's progressive labor policies and his constant drive to make each car better, faster and cheaper made certain that his workers and everyday Americans would think Ford F when they shopped for a car. Charles E. Merrill brought high finance to the middle class. After the crash, the general public had sworn off stocks and anything more financial than a savings account. Merrill changed that by using a supermarket approach - he sacrificed the high commissions to serve more people, making up his money on the larger volume.

Merrill worked hard to "bring Wall Street to Main Street ," educating his clients through free classes, publishing rules of conduct for his firm and always looking out for the interests of his customers first we all know names like Rockefeller, but there are other influential pioneers of finance in America's history. Sam Walton picked a market no one wanted and then instituted a distribution system no one had tried in retail.

History's 10 greatest entrepreneurs

By building warehouses between several of his Wal-Mart WMT stores, Walton was able to save on shipping and deliver goods to busy stores much faster. Add a state-of-the-art inventory control system, and Walton was lowering his cost margins well below his direct competitors. Rather than booking all of the savings as profits, Walton passed them on to the consumer. By offering consistently low prices, Walton attracted more and more business to where he chose to set up shop.

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Eventually, Walton took Wal-Mart to the big city to match margins with the big boys - and the beast of Bentonville has never looked back. Charles Schwab, usually known as "Chuck," took Merrill's love of the little guy and belief in volume over price into the internet age. When May Day opened the doors for negotiated fees, Schwab was among the first to offer a discount brokerage for the individual investor.

To do this, he trimmed the research staff, analysts and advisors, and excepted investors to empower themselves when making an order. From a bare-bones base, Schwab then added services that mattered to his customers, like hour service and more branch locations. Merrill brought the individual investor back to the market, but Chuck Schwab made it cheap enough for him to stay. The s found Walt Disney on the verge of creating a cultural juggernaut. A gifted animator for an advertising company, Disney began creating his own animated shorts in a studio garage. Disney created a character inspired by the mice that roamed his office, Mickey Mouse, and made him the hero of "Steamboat Willie" in Congratulations to Ed Lengel for another important addition to the biography of George Washington.

In this well-written and fast paced volume, Dr Lengel brings this "marble man" into the realm of the real, into the world where things do not always go as planned, and where hard work, study and research and networking are necessary to be able to attain one's goals. To be sure, Washington started his life with many advantages, but he was able to build on those, deal with all sorts of adversity - mi Congratulations to Ed Lengel for another important addition to the biography of George Washington. To be sure, Washington started his life with many advantages, but he was able to build on those, deal with all sorts of adversity - military, political and economic, throughout his life, to build the success and accompanying reputation he continues to enjoy today.

I was particularly interested in Dr Langel's description of Washington's focus on "practical economics" necessary to the conduct of the revolutionary war - that's not an often-told story in popular writings about this period. Jan 10, Travis Jackson rated it liked it Shelves: biography , american-history , history. We have all learned the lessons of George Washington being the famous general in our first president. These are great lessons and a definitive part of our country's history, but little did we know he was also a great businessman as well. While reading this book, I wondered where these lessons were when I was in school and studying American history.

Unfortunately they were in other tucked away spots, not readily presentable to a high school or college history student. Fortunately with first entr We have all learned the lessons of George Washington being the famous general in our first president. Fortunately with first entrepreneur this changes.

Now those with a desire for more information about one of our greatest leaders need look no further than this book. I hope that students and teachers alike will turn to First Entrepreneur to learn more about this great leader. Apr 02, Dean rated it liked it Shelves: biography , american-history. Wouldn't recommend as a first read on Washington but one can never spend too much time with our founding father. First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his country men and now we find first in American business.

Very interesting take on Washington's turn against slave labor to free labor based on the experience running his estate. Mar 20, Tfnolan rated it liked it. The economic philosophy of George Washington , and how it affected the man, the War and the Presidency. Dry in parts, but an interesting evaluation of GW. June Knaudt rated it really liked it Jun 11, Kate rated it liked it Apr 28, Beverly G. Kanewske rated it it was amazing Jan 21, Connor rated it really liked it Apr 27, Haley rated it liked it Nov 02, Joseph Greaser rated it really liked it Aug 09, Banshay rated it liked it Jun 26, Jennifer Henderson rated it really liked it May 30, Jeffrey Blake rated it really liked it Feb 24, Hannah West rated it it was amazing Oct 06, Jim Serger rated it it was amazing May 10, Jayne rated it liked it Mar 24, Chad rated it liked it May 04, Ross Meloney rated it liked it Aug 09, Andrew Goldberg rated it it was amazing Oct 05, Jan Verhoeff rated it it was amazing Jan 10, Vjachimowicz rated it it was amazing Jul 24, David Patterson rated it it was amazing Jan 02,