Who tops out the entrepreneur poll?

In a recent poll commissioned by online accounting software firm KashFlow, 936 business owners were asked to identify their business hero. Chairman of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson topped the polls with 34%, with the third richest man in the world, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates coming in at 2nd place.

As the poll below shows, net worth was obviously not the deciding factor for many SME owners. Ex Dragons Den business angel Richard Farleigh and current Dragon Peter Jones came in third and fourth places respectively, despite their combined worth being less than a third of 5th placed Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Dragons Dens success in terms of viewing figures is potentially the reason that three of the Dragons made the top 10, although Duncan Bannatyne will almost definitely be “out” when he sees that he only just scraped in at 10th place.

Despite a 2003 Labour Party survey that revealed 30 per cent of business owners are women, the results of the KashFlow poll only featured one female, Oprah Winfrey. The American chat-show queen is worth an estimated $2.5 billion and came in 9th on the poll with 3.5% of the vote.

Below is the top 10, including the percentages of owners who voted for them.

Business owners had a choice of potential business heroes to choose from, with 92.9% of those polled selecting one of the top 10 as their role model.

The full list of MD’s and CEO’s up for votes included; Katie Price, aka Jordan, who received 0.6% of the votes, Jamie Murray Wells, Sir Alan Sugar, Simon Woodroffe, James Caan, Deborah Meaden, Doug Richard, Donald Trump, Victoria Beckham and Rupert Murdoch.

Name – % – Estimated Net Worth

1.    Richard Branson  – 34% – £4.4 billion

2.    Bill Gates – 14% – $58 billion (2008)

3.    Richard Farleigh – 10.3% – £66 million (2006)

4.    Peter Jones – 8% – £300 million

5.    Stelios Haji-Ioannou – 7% – £1.29 billion

6.    Steve Jobs – 5.4% – $5.4 billion (2008)

7.    Michael O’Leary – 4.7% – €466m

8.    Warren Buffet – 4% – $62 billion (2008)

9.    Oprah Winfrey – 3.5% –    $2.5 billion

10.  Duncan Bannatyne – 2% – £200million