Forbes released its first list of America’s 50 richest self-made women this week, and it’s filled with innovators. At the top of the list is Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of blood testing company Theranos, with a net worth of $4.5 billion. Holmes is also the youngest woman on the list and the youngest female billionaire in the world at 31 years of age.
To be considered for the list, women had to have a minimum net worth of $250 and they had to make a substantial portion of that wealth themselves. The 50 women who made the 2015 list are corporate executives, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and authors.
Most importantly, these women are innovators. They founded companies, developed new technologies, and solved people’s problems with their innovation. These women are behind powerful brands like Little Caesars, DKNY, Panda Express, Spanx, Lynda.com, Forever 21, American Girl Dolls, and Proactiv.
Let’s take a closer look at how these innovative women made their fortunes.
How They Made Their Fortunes
Most of the richest women in America made their fortunes as entrepreneurs.
- 74% made their fortunes as founders or co-founders of their own companies. The number is even higher for the top 10 on the list. A total of 80% of the top 10 richest self-made women in American amassed their wealth as founders or co-founders of their own companies.
- 10% made their fortunes as celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Beyonce, Kathy Ireland and Judge Judy. Each of these women leveraged their fame as television personalities, musicians, models, and so on to start their own companies, write books, and more.
- 7% made their fortune working for other people. Today, most of these women are executives at large corporations like Google, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, and Oracle.
- 1% made her fortune as an author, Nora Roberts.
Where They Made Their Fortunes
These women come from a variety of industries, with a significant number generating their wealth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
- 38% made their fortunes in STEM fields.
- 16% made their fortunes in fashion and retail.
- 6% made their fortunes in food industries.
- 4% made their fortunes in oil and gas.
- 4% made their fortunes in finance.
- 4% made their fortunes in hotel, casino and timeshare industries.
The 50 richest self-made women in America span multiple generations.
- 4% are in their thirties.
- 14% are in their forties.
- 30% are in their fifties.
- 30% are in their sixties.
- 14% are in their 70s.
- 8% are in their 80s.
Spanning the Country
These women come from across the country, but California is home to the majority.
- 40% live in California.
- 16% live in New York.
- 8% live in Nevada.
- 6% live in Florida.
- 6% live in Maryland.
- 6% live in Wisconsin.
- 4% live in New Jersey.
- 2% live in Arkansas.
- 2% live in Georgia.
- 2% live in Indiana.
- 2% live in Michigan.
- 2% live in Oklahoma.
- 2% live in Texas.
- 2% live in Virginia.
Follow the link at the beginning of this article to learn more about these innovative and highly successful women. There are some truly inspiring stories to motivate you to keep pursuing your own innovative ideas!
Latest posts by Kelley Keller (see all)
- America’s 50 Richest Self-Made Women Includes Innovators and Entrepreneurs - May 30, 2015
- Copyright Infringement or Fair Use for the House Judiciary Committee? - March 24, 2015
- New USPTO Website to Launch on February 5, 2015 - January 23, 2015