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Famous Women Entrepreneurs

Historically, entrepreneurship has been a male-dominated pursuit, but many of today's most memorable and inspirational entrepreneurs are women. Come learn about some of the most influential entrepreneurial women past and present.

Mary Kay Ash - Most Outstanding Woman in Business in the 20th Century
The founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics created a business that has helped some half a million women fulfill their dreams of business ownership. A best-selling author and powerful motivational speaker, Lifetime Television named her the Most Outstanding Woman in Business in the 20th Century.

Estée Lauder - Making Beauty Into Big Business
The daughter of immigrants, she is the embodiment of the American Dream. She started out selling skin creams created by her uncle, but with persistence and personality, she worked her way into the cosmetics counters of department stores. She developed a personalized selling style that put her brand at the top of the industry, with a 45% share of the cosmetics market in U.S. department stores.

Jenna Jameson - From Porn Princess to Media Mogul
Entrepreneurship may not be the first thing on your mind when you hear her name, but this is one shrewd businesswoman. She turned the business model in her industry on its head before diversifying into a wide range of other products. Her story of powerful branding, tightly controlled distribution and multiple streams of passive income contains lessons for entrepreneurs in any industry.

Debbi Fields - Founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies
At age 20, Debbi Fields was a housewife with no business experience, but a great chocolate chip cookie recipe and a dream. Today, Mrs. Fields Cookies is one of the world's most recognizable dessert franchises, with over 600 stores in the U.S. and ten other countries.

Anita Roddick - Redefining Business As We Know It
Anita Roddick is the founder of The Body Shop, a store that purchases outstanding natural ingredients for a line of cosmetics, helping the disadvantaged communities generate income and providing women with superb cosmetics.

Coco Chanel - As Bold and Distinctive as Her Signature Fragrance
Coco Chanel was one of the major innovators of 20th century fashion, introducing elements from menswear and sports apparel into women's fashion to create a distinctively simple, yet elegant style. Her signature fragrance, Chanel No. 5, was the first perfume to bear the designer's name. Launched in 1923, it is still one of the best-selling fragrances in the world.

Oprah Winfrey - About.com Readers' Most Admired Entrepreneur
In our ongoing poll, About.com asked readers to select the entrepreneur they most admired. Was it Bill Gates? Richard Branson? Donald Trump? Nope -- Oprah Winfrey stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Read Oprah's story and some of the things that make her so admirable.

Madame C. J. Walker - First Female African-American Millionaire
The daughter of former slaves, orphaned at the age of seven, Walker built a thriving beauty products business in the early 20th century, eventually employing over 3,000 people. Her hard work, honest business dealings and quality products led her to become the first self-made female African-American millionaire.

Coco Chanel - As Bold and Distinctive as Her Signature Fragrance
Coco Chanel was one of the major innovators of 20th century fashion, introducing elements from menswear and sports apparel into women's fashion to create a distinctively simple, yet elegant style. Her signature fragrance, Chanel No. 5, was the first perfume to bear the designer's name. Launched in 1923, it is still one of the best-selling fragrances in the world.

Debbi Fields - Founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies
At age 20, Debbi Fields was a housewife with no business experience, but a great chocolate chip cookie recipe and a dream. Today, Mrs. Fields Cookies is one of the world's most recognizable dessert franchises, with over 600 stores in the U.S. and ten other countries.

Estée Lauder - Making Beauty Into Big Business
The daughter of immigrants, she is the embodiment of the American Dream. She started out selling skin creams created by her uncle, but with persistence and personality, she worked her way into the cosmetics counters of department stores. She developed a personalized selling style that put her brand at the top of the industry, with a 45% share of the cosmetics market in U.S. department stores.

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