The World’s Most Influential Entrepreneurs – Part 3

Alva Edison

Our third and final part of the world’s most influential entrepreneurs looks at even more incredible people that took that one step that most of us fear to take, a step that needs courage and commitment, but as the saying goes, fortune favors the brave.

Anita Roddick

Anita epitomizes what an entrepreneur is all about, she had an idea, and then the courage and conviction to turn that idea into a successful business. Anita started the Body Shop in 1976 with just fifteen lines that she had gathered together from all around the world.

The plan she had needed a lot of research and so she gathered together her family and traveled extensively to source products and create something unique. She wanted to make a difference to the environment and try where she could to only offer Greener Products in her stores.

One of her main stumbling blocks was to educate the British shopper to pay more for environmentally friendlier products. But one of Anita’s strongest qualities is motivation and with a little luck with changing attitudes her idea became a massive success.

One store opening quickly followed another and her empire soon grew to nearly two thousand outlets in fifty different countries with more than seventy-five million loyal customers by 2003. The Body Shop was taken over by L’Oréal in a deal that was highly controversial as Anita would not sell any product that had been tested on animals, whereas L’Oréal did. Anita has since been made a Dame in recognition of her service and dedication to green issues.

George Eastman

Most of the people in the world have either heard of or used a Kodak product, but perhaps were not aware of its founder. George Eastman was born in New York and completely self-educated. He is a well-known contributor to good causes and charities and he was the first man to develop the roll film for the camera.

Eastman played a pivotal role in the development of the photography industry which basically brought what was a rich man’s hobby to a mainstream leisure pursuit. After Eastman’s inventions were released, anybody could take photographs and keep their memories to their old age.

Kodak was founded in 1884, an Eastman was the man behind it. His constant striving for development forged the company and made it the success that it is today. To help him with the business side of things whilst Eastman looked at the emerging technologies, the businessman Henry Strong was employed. The roll film was invented in 1885 which was the medium that every photographer around the world used for the next century to store images.

Early motion picture cameras also took Eastman’s idea and used roll film, as practiced by filmmakers such as Alva Edison. Eastman’s marketing logo came with the comment, You Press the Button and We Do the Rest.

When Eastman died in 1932 he had already donated most of his personal wealth to charities and good causes including the Royal Free Hospital and the University of Rochester. Eastman changed how the world took pictures and revolutionized photography. He is the last of our great entrepreneurs on our list and brings a fitting finale to our blog.