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Richard Branson Still Top Inspiration

Small Business News

17th February 2011

Poll of over 1,000 global entrepreneurs puts Virgin boss on top

Women role models still thin on the ground

Top entrepreneur role models - click to enlargeIn a recent blur Group survey of more than 1,000 entrepreneurs from 75 countries in its Innovatrs Crowd, Richard Branson topped the list of inspirational entrepreneurs.

Branson took a staggering 27.5% of the votes, with people citing his constant innovation of new products and ideas as the reason for his selection. Steve Jobs took second place with 16.8%, and Bill Gates came in third with 12%. Other interesting entries include Oprah Winfrey with 1.1% - which puts her on a par with Lord Alan Sugar. Sugar’s ‘The Apprentice’ US counterpart Donald Trump received 3.8% putting him in 5th place behind Warren Buffett with 4.8%.

“Even though these entrepreneurs are building businesses around innovative and cutting edge concepts, their inspiration still seems to come from more traditionally recognised role models.”

said Philip Letts, Co-Founder of blur Group and its Innovatrs Crowd.

“However, some new names are emerging - we’ve seen the guys behind Facebook, Google, and Amazon in the list, and as we’re joined by more entrepreneurs from across the world we’re seeing people like Dhuri Bhai Ambani, and Mohammed Yunus getting more and more popular.”

When asked what makes a successful entrepreneur, most said that making money was key - the average wealth among the top 5 entrepreneurs is $22bn. The presence of Mohammed Yunus (for example) shows that social responsibility is also an important criteria for the Innovatrs - many of whom were clearly impressed by the microfinancing provided by Mr Yunus’ Grameen Bank.

It says a lot about the entrepreneurial character of the respondents that 3.5% listed ‘myself’ as their favourite entrepreneur - more than twice as many than chose Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

9.1% of Innovatrs in the survey were women. Oprah Winfrey and Anita Roddick were the only female entrepreneurs mentioned, together comprising 2.3% of the vote. A live twitter chat also mentioned Sahar Hashemi - who was praised for acknowledging mistakes and giving good advice - considered good entrepreneurial traits by our Innovatrs.