Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Bits & bytes
Record number of women making fortune: Study

London: A record number of women are making multi-million pound fortunes by starting their own businesses, according to a new survey. For the first time, about one in four persons who appear in the annual list of Top 100 Entrepreneurs are women. When the list, published each year by the magazine Management Today, started in 2004, there were 25 per cent fewer women included than today.

If this trend continues, women are on their way to beating men to becoming the UK's most successful entrepreneurs over the next few decades.

More than one million women in Britain are now running their own companies, according to official figures from the Office of National Statistics.

When records began in 1984, there were just 645,000 women who were self-employed in this country.

Philip Beresford, who compiled the list, said growing numbers of women are "invading traditional macho territory".

Elena Ambrosiadou, who set up one of the first hedge funds in London in 1991 when she was just 33, ranked fifth in the Top 100 list. Her total fortune is estimated at 140 million pounds.

Ambrosiadou, who works with her husband Martin Coward, named her company Ikos, which means 'home' in her native language, Greek.

In 2004, she became Britain's best-paid businesswoman after paying herself a staggering 16 million pounds from her hugely successful business.

Ikos was not even her first success. Ambrosiadou, who has a degree in chemical engineering, became the youngest-ever senior executive at BP at the age of just 27.

Another success story is that of Sarah Tremellen, 40, and her company, Bravissimo.Her company sells bras and swimwear, which range from the larger cup sizes of D to a JJ.

She has inspired to set up the business after becoming 'appalled' by the lack of choice for women who need larger bras.

She now has a booming business with 25 million pounds of annual sales, nearly 300 staff and a fortune estimated at 13 million pounds.

Like Bravissimo, Mamas and Papas, the baby merchandise company, was set up by Luisa Scacchetti, now 55, when she was expecting her first child.

She wanted to surround her child with "beautiful things" but she and her husband, David, the co-founder, searched in vain.

She said: "We looked and we looked and we looked. And when we couldn't find what we were looking for, we created it." The company is now a huge brand which sells anything from pushchairs, used by celebrities such as Victoria Beckham to high chairs.

The Scacchetti's fortune is worth 57 million pounds and the company employs 776 people, including their daughter, Olivia, who designed the Ziko pushchair. PTI