Famous Scottish Entrepreneurs

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

Vote for Your Favourite Scottish Entrepreneurs

 1 
Andrew Carnegie
(Industrialist, Businessman, Entrepreneur and a major Philanthropist.)

Andrew Carnegie
10
Birthdate: November 25, 1835
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dunfermline
Died: August 11, 1919
Andrew Carnegie revolutionized the 19th-century steel industry by investing in railroads, bridges, and other projects. He donated most of his wealth to philanthropic causes, and built significant establishments, such as the Carnegie Hall and the Carnegie Mellon University. In the Gospel of Wealth, he urged the wealthy to donate.

 2 
Fred Goodwin
(Former CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland)

Fred Goodwin
2
Birthdate: August 17, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Former CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Fred Goodwin perhaps became the most-hated banker after the 2008 collapse of RBS, when it registered the biggest annual loss in the history of the UK. Subsequently, his knighthood was revoked. He still receives an annual pension from the bank.

Charles Forte, Baron Forte
2
Birthdate: November 26, 1908
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Monforte, Italy
Died: February 28, 2007

Charles Forte, Baron Forte was a Scottish hotelier best remembered for establishing the hospitality company that eventually became the Forte Group. He is also credited with opening the first catering service at Heathrow Airport in London in the 1950s. In 1970, Charles Forte was knighted by Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon for his achievements and contributions.

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 4 
Jackson Carlaw
(Politician)

Jackson Carlaw
2
Birthdate: April 12, 1959
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newton Mearns, England

Jackson Carlaw is a Scottish politician best known for his association with the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party where he served as the leader from February to July 2020. From 2011 to 2019, he had served as the deputy leader of the party. Since 2007, Jackson Carlaw has been serving as a Member of the Scottish Parliament.

 5 

David Dunbar Buick
5
Birthdate: September 17, 1854
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Arbroath, Scotland
Died: March 5, 1929

David Dunbar Buick was a Scottish-born American inventor best remembered for establishing the popular Buick Motor Company, which went on to become the basis of the General Motors empire. In 1974, Buick was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame for his immense contribution to the automobile industry in the United States of America.

 6 
Thomas Sutherland
(Founder of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation)

Thomas Sutherland
1
Birthdate: August 16, 1834
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
Died: January 1, 1922

Thomas Sutherland was a British politician and banker best remembered for founding The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC),  the founder member of HSBC Group. After his demise, a street in Sheung Wan was named after him.

 7 
Tom Walkinshaw
(Racing car driver from Scotland and the founder of the racing team Tom Walkinshaw Racing)

Tom Walkinshaw
4
Birthdate: August 14, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mauldslie, Scotland
Died: December 12, 2010
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 8 

Alexander Turney Stewart
2
Birthdate: October 12, 1803
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lisburn, Ulster, Ireland
Died: April 10, 1876

Scottish-Irish businessman Alexander Turney Stewart initially aspired to be a Presbyterian minister, before deviating to teaching and then eventually stepping into business. He began with trading textile and then launched a dry goods business, A. T. Stewart & Company, in New York, which he later expanded into an empire.

 9 
James Wilson
(Businessman)

James Wilson
2
Birthdate: June 3, 1805
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Died: August 11, 1860

Born to a hat manufacturer, James Wilson initially wished to study law but later joined his father’s business. Over the years, he established what is now the Standard Chartered Bank. Sent to Kolkata by Queen Victoria to introduce tax reforms, he introduced paper currency in the country, but died of dysentery.

 10 
James McGill
(Businessman)

James McGill
2
Birthdate: October 6, 1744
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: December 19, 1813

James McGill was a Scottish Canadian politician, philanthropist, and businessman best remembered for founding McGill University in Montreal, Canada. One of the most important members of the Château Clique, McGill was also one of the founding members of the famous gentleman's dining club, The Beaver Club.

 11 
John O. Agwunobi
(A formally trained pediatrician and chief executive officer and executive chairman of Herbalife Nutrition)

John O. Agwunobi
0
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Dundee, Scotland

 12 

Robert William Thomson
1
Birthdate: June 29, 1822
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stonehaven, Scotland
Died: March 8, 1873

Apprenticed as a merchant at age 14, Robert William Thomson grew up to study civil engineering and also worked with the South Eastern Railway Company. His illustrious career saw him make quite a few inventions, such as the pneumatic tire, the fountain pen, and the road steamer.  

 13 
John Galt
(Novelist)

John Galt
6
Birthdate: May 2, 1779
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Died: April 11, 1839

John Galt was a Scottish entrepreneur, novelist, and social and political commentator. Often referred to as the first English-language political novelist, Galt wrote extensively on issues pertaining to the Industrial Revolution. John Galt is also known as the father of Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt, who went on to become one of the fathers of the Canadian Confederation.

Robert Livingston the Elder
3
Birthdate: December 13, 1654
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ancrum, near Jedburgh, County of Roxburgh, Scotland
Died: October 1, 1728

Robert Livingston the Elder was a fur trader, merchant, and government officer in colonial New York. He was the first lord of Livingston Manor as he obtained a patent to 650 square km of land along the Hudson River; the land came to be known as Livingston Manor in Dutchess and Columbia counties.  

 15 
George Stephen
(Scots-Quebecker Banker, Railway Executive in Canada and Businessman)

George Stephen
1
Birthdate: June 5, 1829
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dufftown, Scotland
Died: November 29, 1921
Born in Scotland, George Stephen became the first Canadian to attain the position of the Peerage of the United Kingdom and became the 1st Baron Mount Stephen. A banker, he had also headed Canadian Pacific Railway. His philanthropic contributions helped the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal and other hospitals.

 16 

James Young (Chemist)
1
Birthdate: July 13, 1811
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Glasgow
Died: May 13, 1883

Born to a carpenter in Glasgow, James Young initially assisted his father but later gained an interest in chemistry. He grew up to invent a process of extracting oil from coal and oil shales. Owing to his paraffin oil company, which he owned, he later earned the nickname Paraffin Young.

Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll
1
Birthdate: June 1, 1682
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ham House, England
Died: April 15, 1761

Part of the famous Campbell family of Scottish noblemen, Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll was one of the most prominent politicians of his day. He had initially served the army and had also been the treasurer of Scotland. He was also one of the co-founders of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

 18 
Imogen Bankier
(Badminton player)

Imogen Bankier
1
Birthdate: November 18, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Imogen Bankier is a Scottish former badminton player who won the silver medal in the mixed doubles event at the 2011 World Badminton Championships in London. She then went on to win bronze medals at the 2012 European Championships and 2014 Commonwealth Games. After retiring as a player, Imogen Bankier has established herself as a businesswoman.

 19 
John Ogilby
(Translator)

John Ogilby
1
Birthdate: November 17, 1600
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Scotland
Died: September 4, 1676

A cartographer who was a pioneer of road atlases, John Ogilby was also a well-known poet and translator. Initially a dance master, he is also credited with building Ireland’s first theater in Dublin. He was the target of satirical attacks by Alexander Pope in The Dunciad and by John Dryden in MacFlecknoe.

 20 
William Brodie
(Criminal, Politician)

William Brodie
1
Birthdate: September 28, 1741
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: October 1, 1788

William Brodie was a Scottish cabinet-maker, Edinburgh city councilor, and deacon of a trades guild. Brodie was also a housebreaker, a secret which he maintained almost all his life. He used the stolen money to fund his gambling habit and to maintain the household of his two mistresses. He was captured in 1788 and was sentenced to death by hanging.

Sir Charles Ross, 9th Baronet
1
Birthdate: April 4, 1872
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Balnagown Castle, Scotland
Died: June 29, 1942

Best remembered as the inventor of the Ross rifle, Sir Charles Ross, 9th Baronet was a talented sharpshooter and rower in his college days and had even participated in the famed Boat Race between Cambridge and Oxford. The Eton-educated baron was also said to be the largest landowner in Britain.

 22 
Walter Scott
(Businessperson, Nuclear physicist)

Walter Scott
1
Birthdate: April 4, 1872, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Scotland

Walter Scott is a Scottish businessman and investment manager best known for establishing the popular investment management company, Walter Scott and Partners. Scott was working as a nuclear physicist before switching his career to become an investment manager.

 23 
James E. Hyslop
(Businessperson and landowner, who settled in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, and founder of several mining companies)

James E. Hyslop
0
Birthdate: November 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kirkhill, Highland, Scotland
Died: January 11, 1928

 24 
James McCulloch
(Politician)

James McCulloch
1
Birthdate: March 18, 1819
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: January 31, 1893

James McCulloch was an Australian Scottish politician who served as the fifth Premier of Victoria from 1863 to 1868. After retiring from politics, McCulloch became a well-known businessman. He also served as the director of several organizations, such as the Bank of New South Wales. In 1870, James McCulloch was knighted for his achievements and contributions.

 25 
Sir George Burns, 1st Baronet
(Shipping Entrepreneur)

Sir George Burns, 1st Baronet
1
Birthdate: December 10, 1795
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: June 2, 1890

Sir George Burns, 1st Baronet was a Scottish shipping entrepreneur. He is best remembered for establishing J.&G. Burns, which later became the cornerstone of David MacBrayne Ltd. Burns is also known for his association with the Glasgow and South-Western Railway, where he was one of the largest shareholders. In 1889, he became the oldest person to be made a baronet.

 26 
Colin Macfarquhar
(Scottish printer)

Colin Macfarquhar
2
Birthdate: 1745 AD
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: April 2, 1793

Colin Macfarquhar was a Scottish printer and bookseller best remembered for co-founding Encyclopædia Britannica, which was first published in 1768. After acquiring the status of a master printer, Macfarquhar went on to open a printing shop in Edinburgh and the first edition of Encyclopædia Britannica was sold at his shop. Colin Macfarquhar also contributed to Britannica's second and third editions.

 27 

David Lewis Macpherson
0
Birthdate: September 12, 1818
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Scotland
Died: August 16, 1896

David Lewis Macpherson was a Scottish-born Canadian political figure and businessman. From 1867 to 1896, he was one of the members of the Senate of Canada. Also known for his reputation as a railway builder, Macpherson helped establish the Toronto Rolling Mills Company after moving to Toronto in 1853. In 1884, David Macpherson was knighted for his achievements and contributions.  

 28 

William Blackwood
1
Birthdate: November 20, 1776
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: September 16, 1834

William Blackwood was a Scottish publisher and bookseller best remembered for establishing the popular publishing house, William Blackwood and Sons. He is also credited with founding the Edinburgh Monthly Magazine, which was renamed Blackwood’s Magazine in 1905. 

 29 
Donald Currie
(Politician)

Donald Currie
1
Birthdate: September 17, 1825
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Greenock, Scotland
Died: April 13, 1909

Donald Currie was a Scottish politician, shipowner, and philanthropist. He is credited with founding the Castle shipping company, which had ships plying between Calcutta and Liverpool. A noted philanthropist, Currie donated to several institutions like the University College Hospital and the University of Edinburgh. Donald Currie also received several honors including the Royal Society of Arts' Fothergill gold medal.  

 30 
Duncan Cameron
(Political figure)

Duncan Cameron
0
Birthdate: 1764 AD
Birthplace: Glenmorrison, Scotland
Died: May 15, 1848

Duncan Cameron was a Scottish-born Canadian political figure and fur trader best remembered for his rivalry with the Hudson’s Bay Company. He is also remembered for representing Glengarry County in the 9th Parliament.

 31 

George Bannatyne
1
Birthdate: 1545 AD
Birthplace: Newtyle, Scotland
Died: 1608 AD

George Bannatyne was a Scottish merchant and burgess best remembered as a collector of popular Scottish poems. He is also known for his compilation of an anthology of Scots poetry. Compiled during a plague in 1568, the anthology came to be known as the Bannatyne Manuscript and includes poems of famous writers like Robert Henryson, Alexander Montgomerie, and William Dunbar.