Famous British Entrepreneurs

Despite taking a beating during the World War, Great Britain has evolved as one of the most thriving economies of recent times, riding on the backs of its entrepreneurs. Recent studies have revealed that Great Britain is home to some of the wealthiest and celebrated entrepreneurs of all time. Apart from helping people overcome their employment woes, entrepreneurs of modern times have also introduced new work cultures, and have managed to break the age-old stereotypes associated with a work environment. The list of eminent entrepreneurs of the UK is incomplete without the mention of self-made billionaire duo David and Simon Reuben, retail king Philip Green and the philanthropic business tycoon Richard Branson. While Branson is renowned for the Virgin Group of companies owning the Virgin Airways and Virgin Mobiles, the Reuben brothers started out in scrap metal business and eventually ventured out to other raw material business and real estate. Ann Summers the CEO of an internationally acclaimed lingerie brand and Lesley Reynolds, the co-founder of the multi-faceted beauty clinic in London are some of the famous female British entrepreneurs who have broken all stereotypes and established a name for themselves in their respective industry. Here we present to you biographies of some of the most famous British entrepreneurs. Acquaint yourself with their life stories, timelines and also a few interesting facts & trivia related to their lives.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Richard Branson

Richard Branson
6
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: July 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Blackheath London

Richard Branson is an English business magnate. The founder of Virgin Group Ltd., which controls over 400 companies, Branson was named on Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People in The World. Branson has also had a major impact as a philanthropist; he set up a charitable organization called Branson School of Entrepreneurship to provide entrepreneurial training to youngsters.

 2 Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver
5
Famous As: Chef and Restaurateur
Birthdate: May 27, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Clavering, U.K.

Jamie Oliver is an English restaurateur and chef who gained international recognition after appearing on popular TV shows, such as Jamie's Kitchen and The Naked Chef. In 2005, his Feed Me Better campaign helped introduce several children to healthier foods. He also established a charity restaurant called Fifteen, which employs disadvantaged young people.

 3 Elizabeth Hurley

Elizabeth Hurley
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 10, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Basingstoke, Hampshire, England

Best known for her roles in the Austin Powers franchise, Bedazzled, and The Royals, Elizabeth Hurley began her career as an Estee Lauder model. A trained ballerina, she has also been in the news for her relationship with Hugh Grant and her marriage to textile magnate Arun Nayar.

 4 Marco Pierre White

Marco Pierre White
5
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: December 11, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Leeds, United Kingdom
Marco Pierre White is known as the world’s first celebrity chef and became the youngest and the first British chef to win three Michelin stars. He has trained chefs Gordon Ramsay and Mario Batali, and has appeared on culinary shows such as Hell's Kitchen and Marco Pierre White's Kitchen Wars.

 5 Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough
4
Famous As: British Politician
Birthdate: August 29, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
Died: August 24, 2014

Richard Attenborough is credited with making one of the greatest films of all time - Gandhi. Also an actor, Richard served as the president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Apart from being honored by the British royalty, he was also honored with India's third-highest civilian award, The Padma Bhushan.

 6 John McAfee

John McAfee
6
Famous As: Computer Programmer
Birthdate: September 18, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
Died: June 23, 2021

John McAfee is an English-American businessman and computer programmer. He is credited with founding one of the most popular software companies of all time, McAfee Associates, which specializes in producing enterprise security software. After leaving the company, which is now owned by TPG Capital and Intel, John McAfee went on to found other companies like Tribal Voice and Future Tense Central.

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 7 Sharon Osbourne

Sharon Osbourne
4
Famous As: Television host
Birthdate: October 9, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brixton, South London, England
Heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne’s wife, Sharon Osbourne is a music manager. She rejuvenated Ozzy’s career by organizing the Ozzfest tour. She was the star of the reality show The Osbournes, wrote several books, was a panelist on Loose Women, and judged America's Got Talent and The X Factor.
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 8 J. Paul Getty

J. Paul Getty
7
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: December 15, 1892
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S
Died: June 6, 1976

As the patriarch of the Getty family, J. Paul Getty was an influential petrol-industrialist who founded the Getty Oil Company. In 1966, Paul made it to the Guinness Book of Records as the world's richest private citizen. An avid collector of antiquities and art, his collection is preserved at the J. Paul Getty Museum in California.

 9 Peter Jones

Peter Jones
4
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: March 18, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Maidenhead
Entrepreneur and reality star Peter Jones is best known for his stints on the shows Dragons' Den, American Investor, and Tycoon. He owns several businesses, including Wines4Business.com and Phones International Group. He received a CBE honor in 2009 and is also a luxury sports car enthusiast.

 10 Lisa Vanderpump

Lisa Vanderpump
5
Famous As: Actress, Restaurateur
Birthdate: September 15, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Lisa Vanderpump is a British restaurateur, actress, and television personality. Vanderpump has owned 36 restaurants, clubs, and bars in Los Angeles and London along with her husband Ken Todd. Also a well-known philanthropist, Lisa Vanderpump supports charity organizations, such as Keep Memory Alive, which was established to create awareness about neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

 11 Davy Jones

Davy Jones
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: December 30, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Openshaw, Manchester, England
Died: February 29, 2012

 12 Alan Sugar

Alan Sugar
4
Birthdate: March 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London Borough of Hackney

Alan Sugar is a British business magnate, politician, author, and media personality. He is credited with founding the popular electronics company, Amstrad. He also co-owned the English football club Tottenham Hotspur from 1991 to 2001. Also a well-known philanthropist, Sugar donated £200,000 to the Labour Party in 2001. He has also donated for charities, such as Great Ormond Street Hospital.

 13 Cecil John Rhodes

Cecil John Rhodes
5
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of the Cape Colony
Birthdate: July 5, 1853
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Died: March 26, 1902
English mining entrepreneur Cecil Rhodes founded the South African territory of Rhodesia, which now consists of the countries Zimbabwe and Zambia. He had been the prime minister of Cape Colony and the chairman of De Beers. He also founded the Rhodes University and launched the Rhodes Scholarship.

 14 Domino Kirke

Domino Kirke
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 17, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England, UK

Domino Kirke was scouted by producer Andres Levin while performing at a pub and later released her own music. She is also the girlfriend of Penn Badgley, better known as Joe Goldberg from the Netflix series You. She is a doula, too, and co-owns the doula agency Carriage House Birth.

 15 Tracey Ullman

Tracey Ullman
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 30, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Slough, Berkshire, England, UK

British-American actor Tracey Ullman began her career with sketch-comedy shows such as Three of a Kind and later had her own Fox show, The Tracey Ullman Show, which featured 30-second segments of The Simpsons in between, making the latter a hit, too. She rose to become the third-richest comedian from Britain.

 16 Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
4
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: October 31, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: United Kingdom

Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi became known internationally when he married the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Beatrice. He is otherwise known as the founder of an interior design and property development company called Banda, for which he also serves as the chief executive.

 17 Heston Blumenthal

Heston Blumenthal
6
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: May 27, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Shepherd's Bush, London, England, United Kingdom

Heston Blumenthal is a British celebrity chef whose unusual recipes, such as Scotch eggs and triple-cooked chips have been widely imitated. He is considered a pioneer of multi-sensory cooking and his scientific approach to cooking has earned him honorary degrees from several universities. In 2004, he won the prestigious Chef Award, joining the likes of Phil Howard and Gordon Ramsay.

 18 Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone
4
Famous As: Business Magnate
Birthdate: October 28, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bungay, Suffolk, England

Bernie Ecclestone is a British business magnate. Often described as F1 Supremo by the media, Ecclestone served as the Formula One Group's former chief executive. Between 2007 and 2011, he also co-owned the English soccer club, Queens Park Rangers. In the early-2000s, Bernie Ecclestone refused to accept a knighthood, stating that he does not deserve the honor.

 19 Edd China

Edd China
5
Famous As: Television Presenter
Birthdate: May 9, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Edd China is best known as the host of the Discovery Channel show Wheeler Dealers. He has also been part of Fifth Gear and Top Gear. He established Cummfy Banana Limited. After racing a motorized sofa at 148 km/h, China set a Guinness record for the fastest furniture.

 20 Brian Epstein

Brian Epstein
5
Famous As: Businessperson, Impresario, Talent agent, Talent manager
Birthdate: September 19, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Liverpool
Died: August 27, 1967

 21 James Dyson

James Dyson
4
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: May 2, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cromer

James Dyson is a British industrial designer, inventor, entrepreneur, and landowner. He is credited with founding the popular technology company, Dyson Ltd. He is also credited with inventing the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner. Also known for his philanthropic activities, Dyson established the James Dyson Foundation to support engineering education and to inspire young people.

 22 William Penn

William Penn
4
Famous As: Founder of the Province of Pennsylvania
Birthdate: October 14, 1644
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 30, 1718

William Penn was a writer and one of the earliest members of the Quakers. He is credited with founding the Province of Pennsylvania. He also oversaw the planning and development of the city of Philadelphia. Penn has several universities and schools named in his honor, including the William Penn University in Iowa. 

 23 Neil Morrissey

Neil Morrissey
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 4, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, UK

Best known for his role of Tony in Men Behaving Badly, English actor Neil Anthony Morrissey developed a love for acting while in school. He has played significant roles in various films and televise series like The Bounty, Bob the Builder, Waterloo Road, Line of Duty, and Boon. Also a successful businessperson, he now owns a chain of pubs in Staffordshire.

 24 Rick Stein

Rick Stein
4
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: January 4, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Churchill, Oxfordshire, England

Celebrity chef Rick Stein has managed the U.K.’s Stein Hotel and Restaurant with his first wife, Jill Stein. He later became the head chef and co-owner of Rick Stein at Bannisters in Australia, with his second wife, Sarah. He has authored cookbooks and presented culinary shows such as Seafood Odyssey.

 25 Anne Lister

Anne Lister
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 3, 1791
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Halifax, West Yorkshire, England
Died: September 22, 1840

Apart from being a traveler and a mountaineer, Anne Lister was also known as the world’s "first modern lesbian". Nicknamed Gentleman Jack for her androgynous fashion, which almost always included the color black, she penned diaries that contained many secret codes that were deciphered much after her death.

 26 Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley
3
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: September 9, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Burnham
British retail magnate Mike Ashley is the CEO of the sports retailer Sports Direct and owns the department store group House of Fraser. He also owns the football club Newcastle United and once owned stakes in Rangers International. He is media shy and is known for his signature white shirts.

 27 Spencer Matthews

Spencer Matthews
4
Famous As: Television personality
Birthdate: August 6, 1988
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

 28 Harry Gordon Selfridge

Harry Gordon Selfridge
4
Famous As: business magnate
Birthdate: January 11, 1856
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ripon
Died: May 8, 1947

 29 Philip Green

Philip Green
4
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: March 15, 1952
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Croydon, United Kingdom

British businessman Philip Green is the chairman of Arcadia Group, a British multinational retailing company. Previously, he was the chairman and chief executive of Amber Day. He has been called the "King of the High Street" owing to his involvement in several major businesses. He is a controversial businessman and has been accused of using sweatshops.

 30 Jane Asher

Jane Asher
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Willesden, London
Jane Asher gained fame as a child actor and later worked in movies such as Alfie and Deep End. She has also appeared in series such as Wish Me Luck and Holby City. She supports autism-related charities, has authored three novels, and owns a cake-making company and a kitchenware brand.

 31 Frank Williams

Frank Williams
4
Famous As: manager
Birthdate: April 16, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: South Shields

 32 Gemma Collins

Gemma Collins
3
Famous As: Businesswoman
Birthdate: January 31, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Romford, England

Reality star and entrepreneur Gemma Collins soared to fame with reality shows such as The Only Way Is Essex, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Celebrity Big Brother, and Dancing on Ice. She later launched her own reality franchise, Gemma Collins: Diva, and her own BBC podcast.

 33 Lenny McLean

Lenny McLean
3
Famous As: Boxer, Actor
Birthdate: April 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hoxton, London, England, United Kingdom
Died: July 28, 1998

Better known by his nickname, The Guv’nor, boxer Lenny McLean had also been a nightclub bouncer and was held in high regard by the criminal world. He had even served prison time for petty crimes. While he participated in unlicensed boxing for money, he later turned to acting.

 34 Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham
0
Famous As: Singer, Businesswoman, Model, Fashion Designer
Birthdate: April 17, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Harlow, Essex, England

An internationally recognized fashion designer and style icon, Victoria Beckham is widely regarded as one of the most powerful women in the UK. She was appointed an OBE for services to the fashion industry in the 2017 New Year Honours. Also a popular singer, she was part of the best-selling female group of all time, Spice Girls.

 35 Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller
3
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: May 17, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cyprus

 36 David Bale

David Bale
3
Famous As: Entrepreneur
Birthdate: September 2, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: South Africa
Died: December 30, 2003

David Bale was an English entrepreneur and animal rights activist. He worked closely with The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, which aims at protecting endangered mountain gorillas, and served as one of its board members. Apart from his work as an activist for animal rights and environmental causes, David Bale is also known as the father of actor Christian Bale.

 37 J. Bruce Ismay

J. Bruce Ismay
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: December 12, 1862
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Crosby, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Died: October 17, 1937

J. Bruce Ismay was an English businessman. He served as managing director and chairman of the popular shipping company White Star Line, which operated the ill-fated passenger liner RMS Titanic. In 1912, Ismay was subjected to severe criticism after surviving the sinking of the Titanic. In the 1997 film Titanic, J. Bruce Ismay was played by actor Jonathan Hyde.

 38 Robert Maxwell

Robert Maxwell
4
Famous As: Media Proprietor
Birthdate: June 10, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Slatinské Doly, Czechoslovakia (now Solotvyno, Ukraine)
Died: November 5, 1991
Media magnate Robert Maxwell set up Pergamon Press, served as a Labour MP, and acquired media houses such as the Mirror Group and Macmillan. Apart from his lavish lifestyle, he is remembered for embezzling the Mirror Group pension funds. He died after falling off his yacht in the Atlantic Ocean.

 39 Heather Mills

Heather Mills
4
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: January 12, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Aldershot, Hampshire, England
Model Heather Mills lost her left leg in an accident but continued to model using a prosthetic leg. She was previously married to singer Paul McCartney. An avid animal rights activist, she is associated with organizations such as Viva! She has appeared on reality shows like Dancing with The Stars.

 40 Sarah Willingham

Sarah Willingham
3
Famous As: Restaurateur, Businessperson
Birthdate: December 21, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stoke-on-Trent

It is believed Sarah Willingham had begun working in the hospitality industry at age 13. Apart from managing the popular restaurants Planet Hollywood and Pizza Express, she also manages a huge portfolio that includes The Bombay Bicycle Club and The London Cocktail Club. She has also been part of Dragons' Den.

 41 Conrad Black

Conrad Black
3
Famous As: Former Newspaper Publisher, Author, Investor
Birthdate: August 25, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Canadian-born British former newspaper publisher, Conrad Black, is the author of several books, mostly in the fields of Canadian and American history. A longtime columnist, he wrote a column for the National Post for many years. He is a controversial personality and has been convicted of fraud in the U.S. District Court in Chicago.

 42 Anita Roddick

Anita Roddick
3
Birthdate: October 23, 1942
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Littlehampton
Died: September 10, 2007

Anita Roddick was a British businesswoman and human rights activist. She was also a passionate crusader for environmental issues. She founded the British version of The Body Shop, now The Body Shop International Limited. Her company was among the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals in some products. She was also involved with Greenpeace.  

 43 Max Mosley

Max Mosley
3
Famous As: Racecar driver, Lawyer, Politician, Directeur sportif
Birthdate: April 13, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London

Max Mosley was a British lawyer and racing driver. He is credited with founding the Formula One racing team and racing car constructor, March Engineering. He also served as the president of a non-profit association named Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), which represents the interests of car users and motoring organizations around the world.

 44 Tej Lalvani

Tej Lalvani
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: July 13, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: United Kingdom

 45 Thomas Crapper

Thomas Crapper
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: September 28, 1836
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Waterside, Thorne, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
Died: January 27, 1910

 46 Donald Crowhurst

Donald Crowhurst
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: 1932 AD
Birthplace: Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh
Died: June 30, 1969

 47 Gary Rhodes

Gary Rhodes
3
Famous As: Restaurateur
Birthdate: April 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 26, 2019

Best known for his appearances on shows such as MasterChef and Hell's Kitchen, Gary Rhodes later also launched his own series, Rhodes Around Britain. He owned several restaurants in the UK and the Middle East. The celebrity chef shocked everyone with his untimely death at age 59 due to brain hemorrhage.

 48 Jacob Rothschild

Jacob Rothschild
4
Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: April 29, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berkshire, United Kingdom

 49 Vanessa Angel

Vanessa Angel
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 10, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London

Discovered by Eileen Ford, Vanessa Angel started modeling at age 14. She transitioned to movies with Spies Like Us and has since worked in several series such as Weird Science and movies such as Kingpin. She missed out on Lucy Lawless’s role in Xena: Warrior Princess due to an illness.

 50 Nusli Wadia

Nusli Wadia
3
Famous As: Businessperson, Politician
Birthdate: February 15, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India