Ken Lear Lesser Known Entrepreneurs

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Ken Lear is an entrepreneur, leader, businessman, and philanthropist based out of the Metro Detroit area.

When we think about the most well known entrepreneurs of recent years, names such as Larry Page, Steve Jobs, or Mark Zuckerberg come to mind. Although they aren’t as widely known as these great names, there are many American entrepreneurs that started from the bottom and worked their way to the top. These are a few entrepreneurs that made a name for them through creating and running their own business:

Tony Hsieh

At age 24, Tony Hsieh co-founded the Internet advertising network LinkExchange, selling it in 1999 to Microsoft for $265 million. From there he became the CEO of a small, Internet shoe store called Zappos, starting with $1.6 million in 2000. By 2009, the store had made 1.2 billion. Hsieh is also the author of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose. “I’ve never been interest in shoes,” says Hsieh, in an interview with “My passion has always been customer service, company culture, and community.”

Diane Von Fürstenberg

The founder of her own fashion line, Diane Von Fürstenberg first started her business in the 1970s when her signature wrap dress started to rise to fame. Over 40 years later, DVF is sold in premium boutiques such as Neiman Marcus, and the dresses fit women of all shapes and sizes. Furstenberg has encouraged the fashion industry to use more multi-raced models, as well as helped to create CFDA guidelines that make sure models are healthy and not suffering from eating disorders. Her rise to success is perfect inspiration for anyone in the creative field can turn their signature item into a full business.

Barbara Corcoran 

On a $1,000 loan from her boyfriend, Corcoran founded a real estate business called the Corcoran Group. In 2001, she sold the business for $66 million. Since then she has become widely known in the New York real estate scene, as well as a personality on the hit ABC show ‘Shark Tank’. Corcoran is one of the most recognized female entrepreneurs in the world, and gives out great advice on her Twitter account. Her story is perfect inspiration for anyone who is confident that they can blaze a path to success.

John Mackey

Mackey opened his first vegetarian food store in Austin, TX in 1978. Over thirty years later, Whole Foods Market has 300 supermarkets as well as 56,000 team members. Mackey’s business has led big chains such as Wal-Mart and Target to start stocking and selling organic foods. Whole Foods has been successful due to their focus on fresh and natural product availability, as well as a mission of satisfying customers. His story is the perfect American business model: selling a product that you are passionate about and believe in.

Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman is a name that comes up frequently in the tech sector. He was a board of director’s member during the founding of PayPal, as well as the founder of, a social network founded years before Facebook or Twitter. Hoffman is mainly known as a co-founder of LinkedIn, a social network for professionals. The site has more than 187 million registered users and easily considered the best social networking tool available for job seekers and hiring managers. Hoffman is a frequent angel investor, and is looked up to in the entrepreneur world. His success is inspiration for anyone who believes in their ability to invest in the right companies.

For more advice on all things business, entrepreneurship, and leadership, check out Ken Lear Leadership.