Many people think politicians and armies have the most power to affect communities, cultures, and countries. However, a balanced history study might show that entrepreneurs have done the most to change things. They introduce innovations that improve lives and change society. Many of the wealthiest businesspeople also use some of their fortunes to fund worthwhile causes. To understand this argument, consider five entrepreneurs with the vision to change the world.
Five World-Changing Entrepreneurs
Most people should find it easy to name several businesspeople that history will remember for their world-changing efforts. Also, these visionaries seldom work alone, so many might say they should share credit with employees and partners. That makes it difficult to limit this list to just five individuals.
Also, most lists of impactful entrepreneurs tend to focus on people who are still living. After all, many people still have these newer achievements fresh in their minds and tend to take older innovations for granted. This article tried to avoid that bias by focusing on famous business people who have passed on or passed their prime entrepreneurial years.
Benjamin Franklin wore many hats and gained fame as a statesman, publisher, writer, and inventor. Some historians have compared him to a combination of Thomas Edison, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, and Mark Zuckerberg. He certainly had an entrepreneurial streak and founded businesses to market his inventions. Some examples include the lightning rod, bifocals, and both fire insurance and fire departments.
Thomas Edison stands out because of his gifts for both invention and business. He also relied on teams of talented young technicians who tested and refined Edison’s initial ideas. Also, many of Edison’s key inventions improved upon earlier products. For instance, Edison did not invent the telegraph or the telephone, but he vastly improved them. He deserves credit for having ideas and putting teams together that could turn them into reality.
Henry Ford also can’t claim to have invented automobiles. In those days, a group of manufacturers produced the first cars. However, they cost a lot, so most people could never afford one. Henry Ford figured out how to mass-produce vehicles more cheaply, making cars and trucks accessible to the general population.
Andrew Carnegie started out poor. He worked for other people before beginning his own company. Historians still consider him the wealthiest person ever by measuring his fortune in today’s dollars. His cutting-edge steel mill probably stands out as his primary business accomplishment. However, many people remember him well for the philanthropy he funded with 90 percent of his fortune during his later years. He donated to libraries and schools all over the United States.
Bill Gates has lost his long-held top spot as the wealthiest man in the world. Still, nobody should overlook the world-changing impact of Bill Gates’s Microsoft and the innovative and affordable personal computers and software it developed. More recently, Gates has donated billions from his fortune to his charitable foundation, which helps confront global problems like poverty and disease.
Do Entrepreneurs Set Out to Change the World?
Naturally, businesspeople have their own reasons for starting companies. Many see a problem that they can solve and hope to earn a good living by doing it. Even so, many successful entrepreneurs have a vision and wish to create positive change through their efforts.