65 Successful Entrepreneurs Who Are Making a Positive Impact on the World!

Today we are highlighting 65 successful entrepreneurs and CEOs, as well as 2 resources that can be used as effective classroom tools! These people have made powerful differences in their communities and around the world. Join us in recognizing some of the most inspiring people who have contributed to making the world a better place! 

Watch this video that celebrates Women’s History Month & International Women’s Day! (Pro Tip: This is an awesome and engaging educational resource for the classroom) 

Additionally, check out this quick, engaging video that debunks stereotypes about what it means to be an entrepreneur and provides real-world examples of people who have created impactful companies across the globe!

Entrepreneurs can have a profound impact on not only the economy but also some of the most challenging social issues.  

Scroll down and find out who each of the successful entrepreneurs is and the impacts they have made across various sectors.

In the Fashion & Beauty sector…

Meet Jonathon Van Ness!

Jonathon is known for his role as the hair & beauty expert on the show Queer Eye, but did you know he also launched his own brand of sustainable and inclusive hair products, JVN Hair?! Launched in 2021, it is a gender-neutral and clean beauty line revolutionizing the haircare industry. The company prioritizes being kind to hair AND to the planet while remaining affordable so that they can make haircare accessible to all people and hair types!

Meet Kylie Jenner! 

Kylie is a well-known reality TV star, but she is also the founder of Kylie Cosmetics an American cosmetics company. The company began selling Kylie Lip Kits, a liquid lipstick and lip liner set, on November 30, 2015. The youngest Kardashian sister revealed that her lip kits started with her obsession with make-up and lips and how the star took her insecurity with her lips and turned it into her business model.

Meet Vandana Luthra!

She is the Founder of VLCC, a multi-outlet corporate operation with a mission to transform lives by making Skincare, Beauty, and Wellness accessible to women and men. It consists of 3 core segments: Wellness & Beauty Services, Personal Care Products, and Skills Development. She noticed that the health and wellness industry was still an almost untouched subject in India. After completing her studies in nutrition and cosmetology in Germany, she set up the first VLCC Centre in New Delhi in 1989. 

Meet Ann McFerran!

The founder of Glamnetic, an LA-based, fast-growing E-commerce company selling revolutionary magnetic eyeliner and colored magnetic lashes. McFerran loves making art as well as painting her face. Yet, she struggled to master false eyelashes—the glue got everywhere and the ‘magnetic’ ones weren’t all that magnetized. 

Meet Melissa Butler!

Butler dislikes cosmetics with chemicals because she believes beauty doesn’t have to compromise health. She also hates traditional beauty campaigns and their linear approach to beauty. This is why she created The Lip Bar, a vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand that maintains the idea that beauty doesn’t have to compromise health. TLB is a luxury cosmetic bar that produces and sells lipsticks.

Meet Maki Akaida!

She is the CEO of Uniqlo, a clothing apparel company, which was originally founded in Yamaguchi, Japan in 1949 as a textiles manufacturer. Maki, previously the VP of Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, spent most of her working life with the group, joining in 2001 and overseeing operations at high-demand stores across China and Japan. She was then appointed as Uniqlo's CEO when founder Tadashi Yanai, decides to step down.

Meet Ted Gibson!

Ted is a well-known hairstylist who worked with some of the biggest celebrity names and launched his own salon and haircare line, Starring, in 2019. He believes everyone should experience that confidence boost from beautiful hair. Additionally, he created a non-profit organization, WorthUp Alliance, that works to empower all beauty entrepreneurs!

Meet Rea Ann Silva!

As a most sought-after Hollywood makeup artist, people can't replicate Silva's artistry. So, she began to see mass-market potential in one of her favorite tools: Beautyblender. The Beautyblender is a versatile makeup sponge that can be used for practically anything in your makeup bag: foundations, bb cream, and concealer.

Meet Rihanna!

She is famous for her work as a musical artist, actress, and performer. In 2017 she also founded Fenty Beauty, a cosmetics brand that offers a wide range of hard-to-match skin tones for all skin types. She created Fenty Beauty to ensure the inclusion of all skin colors, more so ensuring the inclusion of deeper skin tones. 

Meet Deepica Mutyala!

 As the founder and CEO of Live Tinted, she grew up thinking that she wasn’t beautiful because the beauty standards that were propagated in mainstream media did not reflect people who looked like her. She created Live Tinted to change the beauty narrative & celebrate and unite beauty for all tinted skins. All her products are clean, vegan, and cruelty-free and their pigments are Carmine-free and 100% safe for the skin with ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamins C and E.

Meet the Founders of Warby Parker!

Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa, and Jeffrey Raider revolutionized the eyewear industry by founding Warby Parker back in 2010! Their goal was to create a company that would offer stylish and affordable glasses online. They also have a social responsibility campaign in which they partner with a handful of organizations worldwide to ensure that for every pair of Warby Parker glasses purchased, a pair of glasses is distributed to someone in need.

Meet Chari Cuthbert!

She is the founder and creative director of BYCHARI, which was established in 2012 and produces effortless, unique, and modern handmade jewelry, designed for women who appreciate simplicity, but demand luxury-just as Chari does. There was no business model & it was more of a passion project. She needed an outlet to be creative & jewelry happened to be it at the moment.

Meet Lesley Thornton!

As an esthetician and formulator, Lesley has always treated people with a holistic approach to skin health; prioritizing minimalistic regimens that deliver multiple benefits and long-term results. She is the founder and creative director of KLUR, a skincare line formulated for diverse skin conditions and ethnicities. It is a skin wellness brand cultivated to reflect the values of clean, ethical, and inclusive beauty. 

Nancy Twine!

When moving to New York, Twine traded out her homemade essentials for the store-bought variety. She then realized that the natural hair care on the market simply did not live up to its performance claims. She is the founder and CEO of Briogeo, which offers a full selection of clean, natural, and effective hair care products that are built to treat every hair type and texture. 

Meet Chantel Davis!

The former Wilhelmina model had trouble finding high-quality swim options to comfortably enhance her own curves. She became fascinated with designing body contouring swimwear that would accentuate women’s most alluring features. She is now the founder and creative director of CASTAMIRA, which makes luxury swimwear that enhances the beauty and sensuality of your body.

Meet Blake Mycoskie!

He created the company, Toms, in 2006, for the North American market, with the goal of providing a new pair of free shoes to the youth of Argentina and other developing nations for every pair sold. Blake pioneered the One for One® model, working to support larger health, education, and community development programs through strategic partnerships.

Meet Sarah Lee & Christine Chang!

Both were amazed by innovations in Korean beauty but found that many Korean companies lacked the expertise to take their domestic success global. Together, with their knowledge as beauty industry veterans, they founded Glow Recipe, a fruit-forward, clinically effective skincare line for glowing skin,

Meet Beyonce!

Everyone knows her as a singing, songwriting, and dancing sensation, but she is also the founder of Ivy Park, an athleisure clothing line owned, managed, and operated by Beyoncé through her management company Parkwood Entertainment, introduced in 2016. Ivy represents her daughter Blue Ivy Carter, and Park represents Parkwood Park in Houston where Beyoncé used to go to exercise and find personal strength.

Meet Suchi Mukherjee!

She is the founder and CEO of LimeRoad, an Indian online marketplace selling clothing and accessories for women, men, and kids. Users can create their own look on a virtual scrapbook by using its products. She wanted to create the safest platform for women to shop online by knowing product information (e.g., manufacturer) and making it easy to find local products.

Meet Madam C.J. Walker!

Walker suffered from hair loss due to a scalp condition, and she began to make cures for herself. She recognized an opportunity in the lack of hair products for Black Americans on the market at the time. The Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company was a cosmetics manufacturer incorporated in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1910 by Madam C. J. Walker.

Meet James Jebbia!

Jebbia founded Supreme in 1994, a streetwear clothing brand that quickly gained a massive following among skaters and other subcultures in New York City. Over the years, Supreme has collaborated with some of the biggest names in fashion, art, and music, including Nike, Louis Vuitton, and the Wu-Tang Clan. Despite its success, Supreme has always maintained its roots in the skateboarding community. The company sponsors a team of skaters and continues to release skateboarding-related merchandise.

Success in the Food & Beverage Industry…

Meet Jenn Martin!

In 2011, when Jen's brother, Jeff was helping her move apartments. Having nothing to eat, they found a bag of mini heirloom popcorn kernels in the back of a cabinet & popped them up. This inspired them to create Pipcorn Snacks! Using minimal, clean ingredients, Pipcorn revolutionizes traditional corn snacks with its staple ingredient heirloom corn, mini-kernel corn.

Meet Kevin Hart!

Most people know Kevin Hart as a famous actor and comedian, but did you know he also founded a completely plant-based fast food restaurant?! Hart House was created in 2022 and makes eating healthier accessible for all. Their mission is to "make the food you know and love better for you, your wallet, and the planet."

Meet Debbi Fields!

When Debbi was young, she could only afford to bake cookies using imitation chocolate and margarine--nothing real. Many other families were missing a fresh experience too. She founded Mrs. Fields’ Cookies Inc., an American franchisor in the snack food industry, with Mrs. Fields and TCBY as its core brands. They sell freshly baked, cookies, brownies, & soft-serve frozen yogurt.

Meet Ethan Brown!

In 2009, Ethan founded Beyond Meat, with a goal to create plant-based alternatives that would satisfy even the most devoted meat lovers. He was on a mission to revolutionize the way we consume protein. The goal was to provide people with an option that was not only healthier for them and the planet but also tasted incredible. Ethan wanted to create a product that could seamlessly replace animal-based proteins in any meal.

Meet Khloe Hines!

Hines was laid off due to the pandemic when she decided to launch Hungry Bunny as she saw the opportunity to serve the community with a healthier, baked donut alternative. Hungry Bunny is a 100% virtual donut shop offering vegan donuts and more.

Meet Carolyn Cresswell!

She’s been in cereals since 1992 when at age 18 she paid A$1,000 ($1,350) for 50% of a muesli-making company where she worked part-time. She is now the founder and CEO of Carman's Fine Foods, a proprietary company that derives revenue from the distribution and warehousing of muesli bars, muesli, nut bars, porridge oats, & similar products to major retailers.

Meet Jordan Karcher!

Jordan started Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co., a coffee company committed to helping rescue dogs in need. The company donates 20% of all profits to rescue organizations and had provided over 3 million meals to their animal rescue and welfare partners across the nation.

Below you’ll find some successful entrepreneurs in the Finance & Economy sector… 

Meet Vicki Saunders!

Saunders wanted to support female founders who have great difficulty finding funding and disrupting the existing startup financing systems that have been designed by & appeal mostly to men. To address this issue, she created SheEO, a global community of women to transform how they finance, support, and celebrate female investors. The name has since been changed to Coralus

Meet Donte Miller!

He is the co-founder & president of Village Micro-Fund, a grassroots microfinance organization that works to empower black entrepreneurs who lack the resources to get their companies off the ground. The organization provides coaching, consulting, capital, and connections so that these entrepreneurs can make powerful changes in their communities.

Meet Gina Heng!

After several years working in the finance sector, Gina Heng saw the need for accessibility to investment planning for women, who often need a little help when it comes to financial literacy. She is now the co-founder and CEO of Miss Kaya, one of the only female-led FinTech firms in the world, launched with the goal of helping Asian women manage and grow their wealth, to support the lifestyles they want to have.

Meet Pocket Sun!

She is the co-founder and partner for SoGal Ventures, a women-led, next-gen venture capital firm investing in very early startups in North America and Asia. Sun started SoGal Ventures in order to answer demands for financing and capital among female-owned businesses, which are still often underfunded and lacking in support.

Meet Muhammad Yunus!

He is the founder of Grameen Bank and pioneered the microcredit and microfinance industry. The bank began in 1976 in the hopes of "alleviating poverty and empowering the marginalized poor" to become entrepreneurs and be able to create their own income. Yunus was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his efforts to create economic and social development in some of the poorest areas around the world.

Now let's going to take a look at the Social & Environmental Wellness Industry… 

Meet Jessica Alba!

Alba had difficulty finding one brand to trust for all her everyday needs. She believed there should be safe products, simple solutions, and clear information about products so consumers can make the best, most informed choices. She created The Honest Company, an honestly safe baby and beauty store that brings innovative formulas and thoughtful designs to all of our beauty and baby products.

Meet Samantha Du!

She founded Zai Lab in 2014 when Beijing was preparing to shake up China’s healthcare industry by slashing red tape and fast-tracking drug approvals. Zai Lab is a research-based, commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company based in China and the U.S., bringing transformative medicines for cancer, autoimmune, and infectious diseases.

Meet Gregory Boyle!

Father Gregory founded Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention and rehabilitation organization in the world. It began in 1988 and has since developed various social enterprises that allow formerly-incarcerated gang members a second chance to develop skills and real-world experience to get them back on their feet.

Meet Beatrice Dixon!

She was suffering from bacterial vaginosis for 8 months when an ancestor came to her in a dream and gifted her with a vision to heal herself. She founded The Honey Pot Company, a plant-derived feminine care, ranging from natural washes, wipes, tampons, panty sprays, pads, lubricants, and other herbal products, to help other women!

Meet Matt Hill!

He is the Co-founder and CEO of One Tree Planted! The organization was founded in 2014 and works to restore forests, create habitats for biodiversity, and make a positive social impact. They work with businesses to help them implement more sustainable practices and help bring environmental education into classrooms while planting trees around the world.

Meet Dorothea “Dot” Koh!

While working in several Asian countries, she noticed that hospitals often store different data in a variety of places. As a result, searching for this info can be time-consuming, and energy-draining. To address this problem she co-founded and is the CEO of BotMD, an AI assistant designed to help doctors retrieve information quickly and accurately by integrating data from various sources within each hospital into one place.

Meet Maliha Khalid!

It was based on her personal experiences accessing healthcare in Pakistan, she found herself struggling to obtain the right medical advice for her illness, due to Pakistan’s overly complex referral system. She is now the co-founder and CEO of Doctory, an app to combat inefficiencies in the Pakistani healthcare system, building a platform to efficiently connect people to the right doctors, resources, and healthcare specialists.

Meet Marc Washington!

Marc is the founder & CEO of SuperGut! The company was created in 2019 to support gut microbiome health and build awareness of nutrition and overall food health. The products are meant to improve sleep, boost energy levels throughout the day, and boost the metabolism, while still tasting delicious. SuperGut also works to create convenient food options so that it is easy for everyone to improve their gut health.

Meet Trinity Mouzon Wofford!

She launched her business, Golde, at the age of 23 with a clear mission: to make wellness accessible. "We wanted to strip away a lot of the concepts around wellness that tend to involve guilt," she tells. Golde celebrates superfoods to effortlessly boost your daily routine, from morning smoothies to skincare.

Next up, we’ll talk about the Technology Sector…

Meet Melanie Perkins!

Perkins understands that not only is graphic designing hard to learn, but it is also prohibitively expensive. So, as a graphic design teacher, she makes graphic designing extremely simple and accessible, with her creation of Canva. Canva is a graphic design platform that is used to create social media graphics and presentations. The app includes free & paid readymade templates for users to use.

Meet Dr. Catriona Wallace!

With the challenges of AI tech advancement, she aims to raise awareness around the full potential of AI, and share guidelines and resources on how to develop and integrate ethical AI. She founded Ethical AI Advisory, a consulting firm led by global experts in AI & Organizational Behavior, assisting leaders and organizations to develop and integrate ethical AI. 

Meet Ngan Sau!

Ngan hopes to inspire creativity in order to initiate social change through her platforms and work in entrepreneurship. She founded Twenty Tools which offers the ‘tools’ entrepreneurs need to boost their businesses, providing information, surveys, start-up knowledge, and first-hand experience sharing from successful business people in Vietnam.

Meet Scott Keyes!

Scott created Scott's Cheap Flights (now called Going), back in 2013 after finding one of the best deals ever on a trip to Milan. It began as a small email list that he'd send to close friends about the best deals he could find and has now turned into sophisticated software and a team of flight experts to help people find the most affordable flights and make travel accessible to all!

Meet Thai Lee!

Lautek, a struggling software company in New Jersey, had a tiny division called Software House that sold business licenses to run programs. Lee paid <$1 million for that business, which later became SHI. SHI International Corp. is a privately owned provider of technology products and services, headquartered in New Jersey.

Meet Zhao Yan!

She is the Chairwoman and President of Bloomage, a biotechnology corporation integrating R&D, and production and sales of hyaluronic acid. Since Zhao bought Bloomage BioTechnology in 2001, it has become the world’s largest maker of hyaluronic acid—used in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and food supplements—with over a third of the global market share.

Meet Jessica Scoprio!

She is the founder and former CMO of Getaround, an online car-sharing or peer-to-peer carsharing service that connects drivers who need to reserve cars with car owners who share their cars in exchange for payment. It aims to leverage the 1 billion cars on the planet, building cleaner, smarter cities.

Meet Amit Goffer!

Goffer created ReWalk Robotics in 2001, an innovative medical device company that provides various rehabilitation efforts. The company designed an exoskeleton that allows people with spinal cord injuries to walk and move. After becoming a quadriplegic himself, he recognized the need to help other people with lower-limb disabilities.

Meet Divya Gokulnath!

Gokulnath & her husband, Byju Raveendran saw the need for an app to educate high school-age students almost a decade ago while tutoring business school applicants struggling with math & science. They created the learning app, BYJU’S, an innovative global ed-tech leader at the intersection of content, media, and technology.

Meet Emi Takemura!

Emi co-founded Peatix in 2011 following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami which hit Japan, resulting in a surge of social events and people looking to connect to build up communities. Peatix is an event discovery platform that connects people to communities through a shared passion for all things, similar and different.

Meet Jareeporn Jarukornsakul!

Established in 2003, she co-founded and is a chairwoman of WHA Group, whose vision is to provide its local and international customers with warehousing, distribution centers, and factory solutions to enable them to operate at full efficiency. WHA Corporation offers world-class standard logistic facilities to lease consisting of a factory for rent and a warehouse for rent in Thailand.

Last but certainly not least, let’s find out about successful entrepreneurs in the Entertainment Media & Lifestyle Industry… 

Meet Sofia Vergara!

She saw a need for good agents and managers to represent Hispanic talent. "Most stars had brothers, aunts or boyfriends managing their careers" - Sofia V. She co-founded Latin World Entertainment, a Hispanic talent management, production company, and entertainment marketing firm, founded in 1994.

Meet Aya Komaki!

She survived breast cancer and a hysterectomy to become a board director and CEO in 2015 at Sanrio’s amusement subsidiary, Sanrio Entertainment, and the next year at Puroland theme park. Sanrio Company, Ltd. is a Japanese entertainment company that designs, licenses, & produces products focusing on the kawaii ("cute") segment of Japanese pop culture. Its best-known character is Hello Kitty.

Meet Oprah Winfrey!

She is the chairperson for several different companies, including the Oprah Winfrey Show, Harpo Inc., O Magazine, and OWN. Found in 1986, Harpo Productions is an American multimedia production company in West Hollywood, California. It produces made-for-TV movies and mini-series. She focuses on stories that dive into difficult life spaces like shows depicting abuse and alcoholism, but also broader topics like building family relationships. 

Meet Jeff Skoll!

Skoll founded Participant Media in 2004 in order to combine art with activism! The company's commitment is to create films and documentaries that bring awareness to social justice movements. They do this through partnerships with nonprofits and NGOs around the world to shine a light on some of the most pressing issues that are happening.

Meet Jang In-a!

She was a game developer herself before she joined the company Smilegate.  The company was seeking game developers, so she went through a job interview for a position in development. She is now the CEO of Smilegate Entertainment, a South Korean video game developer and publisher, which develops, publishes, and services mobile and PC online games.

Meet Sheila Johnson!

Having gained experience as a lobbyist for the cable television industry in the late 1970s, Johnson saw an opportunity to reach African American audiences through a cable TV channel. She is the co-founder of Black Entertainment TV (BET), Founded in 1980, which is an American cable channel targeting African-American audiences. It is owned by the CBS Entertainment Group unit of Paramount Global via BET Networks.

Meet Ariana Huffington!

She is the co-founder of the Huffington Post, an American news website and political blog, founded in 2005. In 2011, it was sold for $315 million to AOL. She has since been named in Time magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list.

Meet David Bank!

David founded ImpactAlpha in 2012, a media platform that focuses on impact investing. The company works to educate people about the power of small investments and how knowing the right companies to invest in can drive societal change. They also hope to expand public knowledge about social enterprises and build a digital community among investors who are looking to make positive changes with their money.

Meet Shradha Sharma!

She had been writing a blog on young entrepreneurs, which later developed into YourStory. She is the founder and chief editor for YourStory, India’s platform for startups and entrepreneurs-related stories, resources, research reports, and analysis of the startup ecosystem. It aims to be the voice of the voiceless, to tell the stories of the common person determined to lead change. 

Meet Sonalie Figueiras!

After attempting to lead a sustainability-driven lifestyle in Hong Kong, Sonalie realized there is a deficit of accessible organic and eco-friendly products. She is now the founder and chief editor of Green Queen, an online magazine and multimedia platform about sustainability and social change, focusing on alternative protein sources, sustainability, and global food supply demands.

Meet Janice Chiao!

She is the founder of Very Very Good (VVG), a media and lifestyle platform that highlights restaurants, boutiques, bookshops, living spaces, and more, whilst promoting “sustainable coexistence” in Taiwan. VVG aims to help customers establish their own lifestyle, offering world-class F&B services for Taipei's fashion and boutique industry, and creating a performance platform for the cultural, creative, and design industries. 

Meet Britanny Bosco!

She is the founder and creative director of Slug Global, a team of young artists from diverse professional backgrounds and disciplines. They specialize in creating thoughtful visual experiences infused with music & culture. The business was developed in 2016 to elevate Black and brown voices in the art world, showcase the art of peers, and provide professional opportunities within their creative communities.

Now that you know about the 65 Successful Entrepreneurs we’re highlighting for the month of March, we encourage you to sign up for our newsletter. Get access to more creative and collaborative resources, perfect for your classroom! 

This is our approach to entrepreneurship education, so if you're thinking about introducing entrepreneurship and project-based learning that gets your students excited, we can help! 

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