5 Business Stories Of Famous Women Entrepreneurs

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Women entrepreneurs have had to face cultural bias, sexism and other challenges across the world to seek success. Many have succeeded and become leaders who inspire us. Read how some of the world’s most powerful entrepreneurs – and women – overcame all odds to get where they are today.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey, a picture from her site: oprah.com

Born to a single teenage mom and frequently molested between the ages of nine and thirteen by male relatives before running away to strike out on her own, and losing her own baby as a teen, Oprah Winfrey had an emotionally devastating childhood. But she overcame that, with a little help and discipline from a stable home offered by her father, to become an honors student and won prizes for oratory, the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant award, served as news reporter and anchor, and went on to have an Emmy award-winning talk show to herself in 1985 – The Oprah Winfrey Show.

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Today, while supporting the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, which she founded in South Africa, she has also achieved double-digit growth for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN TV) in 2014. Along with her TV show and the Harpo production company (founded by her in 1986), she raked in $77 million in 2013.

Sofia Vergara

A picture from her Twitter profile here: https://twitter.com/sofiavergara

Colombian-American actress, television producer, comedienne, model, TV host and businesswoman Sofia Vergara is familiar as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett from Modern Family, the ABC series. Few know that she is also a savvy businesswoman, having co-founded the multi-million dollar Latin World Entertainment Holdings Inc. in 1986 for talent management of Latin talent and other services for Hollywood. Her success so far put Vergara at number 32 on the Forbes list of most powerful women for 2014. The actress has achieved great success in her television career, after having been scouted for modeling and TV work by a photographer on a Colombian beach.

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She left troubled Colombia as a teenager, saw a brother murdered and another battle vainly with addiction, battled thyroid cancer in 2000, and won several Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Vergara’s LatinWE is an important Hollywood player that was estimated to be $27 million by Forbes in 2011. Vergara also launched a social networking site called NuevoWorld for connecting Latin celebrities with their fans.

Wu Yajun

Wu Yajun, a picture by forbes.com