Richard Branson Tops List of Entrepreneurs’ Role Models

02-Apr-2011

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The Virgin Group founder is named as top role model by almost 29 percent of entrepreneurs surveyed. Meanwhile, Donald Trump ties with the answer “myself.”
By Tamara Schweitzer Raben
Posted 3/ 31 11 at 11:00 PM | News, Leadership
Richard Branson is named top entrepreneur role model by a landslideWhere do entrepreneurs get their inspiration? From each other, of course. In a recent survey by blur Group, the creative services Web exchange asked 1,000 of their entrepreneur users from 75 countries around the world who their entrepreneurial role models were. Coming in at the top spot with 27.5 percent of the vote was Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and part of the AOL Small Business Board of Directors. Taking a somewhat distant second place was Steve Jobs with 16.8 percent, followed by Bill Gates with 12 percent of the votes. Rounding out the top five were Warren Buffet and Donald Trump. In an interesting outcome, the answer “myself ” tied Donald Trump with 4 percent of the votes, indicating a great deal of confidence among the respondents. 

Other noteworthy findings of the survey include the mention of microfinance leader Mohammed Yunus who received 1 percent of the vote (and came in ahead of Mark Zuckerberg), as well as the lack of women named. Only two women — Oprah Winfrey and The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick — each received 1 percent of the vote.

When asked what makes a successful entrepreneur, most respondents said making money was a major factor, which makes sense given the average wealth among the top five entrepreneurs is $22 billion. Respondents also cited Branson’s constant innovation of new products and ideas as the main reason for selecting him as the most inspirational. “Even though these entrepreneurs are building businesses around innovative and cutting edge concepts, their inspiration still seems to come from more traditionally recognized role models,” said Philip Letts, co-founder of blur Group, in a company announcement. “However, some new names are emerging — we’ve seen the guys behind Facebook, Google, and Amazon in the list, and as we’re joined by more entrepreneurs from across the world we’re seeing people like Dhirubhai Ambani, and Mohammed Yunus getting more and more popular.”

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