The Greatest Entrepreneurs of All Time

To compile our top 30, we sought the selections of professors and authors, whose criteria included mass commerce and distribution of wealth
by John Tozzi

Who are the greatest entrepreneurs of all time? We could spend a lifetime compiling a list without ever agreeing on who deserves a mention. From the pirates of Silicon Valley to the captains of industry, there are far too many figures to choose from to give anyone the final say.

In other words, we acknowledge our list’s inherent subjectivity. To compile it, we picked the brains of professors, authors, and BusinessWeek staffers. Our criteria for entrepreneurs to be considered among the greatest was simple. If they had the vision to create new markets or tap into underserved markets, changing the way people lived in the process, then they were candidates on a list we whittled down to 30 players.
More Than Just Wealth

Some founders won recognition not just for their companies’ success, but for what they did with the wealth they accumulated. For Jeff Cornwall, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University, entrepreneurs-turned-philanthropists like Andrew Carnegie and Bill Gates made the top of his list.

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