While most billionaires got their fortunes from inheritance, there are a few exceptional individuals who built their fortune from scratch. Here, we look at some of the women who defied all odds and build their businesses to become billionaires.

Chen Lihua

chen lihua

Photo Source : wikipedia.org

Poverty forced Chen to leave high school and started her own furniture repair business. In the early 1980s, Chen moved to Hong Kong and continued her business of buying and re-selling furniture. Her business in Hong Kong was successful enough that she accumulated enough money to buy 12 villas.

In late 1980s, she moved back to Beijing to expand her real estate business. She founded Fuwah International Group in the early 1990s.

Chen is also known for her social responsibility and philanthropy. Fu Wah donated 130 million yuan for disaster relief in 2005 and 265 million yuan in 2004.

Her Net worth as at 2015 is $6.1 Billion

 

Diane Hendricks

diane hendricks

Photo source : Forbes.com

Diane Hendricks is born in 1947 to a Wisconsin dairy farmer. She met Ken Hendricks in 1975, when she was selling custom-built homes and Ken was a roofing contractor. They married and became business partners, and formed ABC Supply in 1982, a roofing and exterior building products company.  Together they grew the company into one of the largest wholesale distributors in the nation. After her husband’s death in 2007, Hendricks steered the company through the housing crash, buying one of its biggest competitors, Bradco Supply, in 2010.

Her Net worth as at 2016 is $5 Billion

 

Elizabeth Holmes

elizabeth holmes

Photo Source : Wikipedia.org

Elizabeth Holmes, the CEO of Theranos, a blood test company, is the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire.

Holmes used money that her parents had saved for her education to establish Real-Time Cures in Palo Alto. Later, she changed the company’s name to Theranos and dropped out a semester later.

Her Net worth as at 2016 is $3.6 Billion

 

Oprah Winfrey

oprah winfrey

Photo Source : Wikipedia.org

Born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother, Oprah Winfrey was sexually abused during her childhood and early teens and became pregnant at the age of 14 (her son died in infancy). Winfrey landed at job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring local evening news at the age of 19. She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, and ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century and the greatest black philanthropist in American history.

Her Net worth as at 2016 is $3 Billion

 

Chen Ningning

chen ningning

Photo Source : China.org.cn

Chen Ningning graduated with an MBA degree from the New York Institute of Technology in 1994. She established Pioneer Metals at the age of 25 with her mother, Lv Hui, who is the daughter of Lv Dong, a former minister of metallurgical industry. The company is mainly engaged in iron ore trade, as well as real estate, logistics and financial services. Almost all medium- and large-scale iron and steel companies in China have purchased iron ore from Pioneer.

Seizing upon opportunities created by the steel boom and industrial reforms, Chen has led her company through rapid growth and expansion. In 2007, Chen sold her 28-percent stake in China Orient Group for US$647 million to Indian steel giant Lakshmi Mittal. Chen is dubbed “Steel Princess” as she has built up her wealth at such a dazzling pace.

Her Net worth as at 2015 is $1.4 Billion