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2 INSPIRATIONAL SELF-MADE BILLIONAIRE WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS

The successes of male entrepreneurs don’t need any introduction. Lesser known is the successes of self-made billionaire women entrepreneurs who have successfully scaled their businesses to billion-dollar powerhouses. Among such are self-made billionaires Folorunso Alakija (Nigeria) and Wu Yajun (China).

Folorunso Alakija (Nigeria)

“Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.” These wise words are spoken by a woman who is the embodiment of the mantra of utilizing every hour of the day.  Nigerian born Folorunso was educated in England and started her career as an Office Administrator and later branched into the banking industry.  She eventually took a leap of faith and started her own fashion company Supreme Stitches, later renamed Rose of Sharon House of Fashion.

Folorunso is a lifelong trustee and the National President of FADAN (Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria).  She has a variety of business interests that she is currently actively involved in, e.g. The Rose of Sharon Prints & Promotions, Dayspring Property Development Company, and FAMFA Oil Limited.  Folorunso is still the Group MD of the Rose of Sharon Group, authored several Christian books, and started the Rose of Sharon Glorious Ministry International.

Folorunso follows a few mantras as guiding stars in her day to day living.  She professes the following ingredients for success and business:

S – Sacrifice
Sacrifice needs to be a daily activity. You must always be willing to walk the extra mile in your business dealings. 

U – Utilize Time & Talent

Time is a valuable commodity.  If lost, it can never be returned.  Use it wisely.  Do not waste your talent.  Nurture, develop, and use it to its full potential.

C – Consistently Focus on Your Goals

Working towards reaching your dreams will not always be easy.  There will be difficult times and the journey will sometimes feel like a mountain you cannot overcome.  But carry on.  Every little step taken is one step closer to reaching your goals.  All successful people exhibit this trait.

C – Credibility & Reliability

Always be credible and reliable in your business dealings. Remember, ignorance can lead to costly mistakes. 

E – Educate

Never stop learning.  Always learn more, improve your skills, and learn whatever you can.

S – Say ‘No!’

In your business journey, a lot of people will try to discourage your dreams. Say no to those people.  Say no to anyone who tries to pour their negative influence onto your vision.

S – “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness

Never leave God out of anything you do.  If you put him first, everything else will fall into place.

Wu Yajun (China)

In 2019, Wu Yajun was listed as the richest self-made woman in the world by Barron’s. Starting from humble beginnings, she worked as a journalist and editor before finally branching out into real estate and property development.

Wu Yajun also made some wise investments into technology companies such as Evernote and Uber.  She is currently Chairperson of Longfor Properties.  This group was recently listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. 

Even after her divorce, Wu Yajun is still actively involved in her business ventures.

From her own experience, Wu Yajun advises up and coming female business entrepreneurs to follow some of the life lessons that she learned during years in the business environment.

  • General perceptions of women are that they are weak and soft, not always thinking rationally.  This might call into question the viability of their business vision.  Remember, you can learn and develop whatever knowledge and skills you lack to be able to realize your dreams.
  • Ignore other people’s opinions of you.  Most of the time it has no basis and truth.  Rather prove yourself with concrete results in all that you do.  Time is no factor here, take as much time as you need.
  • You can still have a good heart and be a successful business woman.  Never forget your values and principles and always ensure that you heed your responsibilities.  

Both of these women have succeeded in male-dominated industries.  They started from humble beginnings with no free giveaways. The golden thread running through both their lives is education and perseverance.  Even if you venture into completely unchartered waters, keep on reading and learning.  And persevere, even if it feels if you are climbing a never-ending mountain.  The view from the top will be well worth all the hard work!

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