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Top 5 most admired business people

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It could be argued that one of the main motivators in life is having someone to measure up to, someone whose achievements you would like to at least emulate and even dream of overtaking.

With this in mind, here’s our list (in no particular order) of the five most admired business people at the moment.

Sheryl Sandberg

In the last year, Sheryl Sandberg has led Facebook’s $100 billion (£62 billion) initial public offering launch and is currently responsible for the social media giant’s profit strategy – both of which are no mean feat.

Ms Sandberg is Facebook’s chief operations officer and the company’s first female member of its board of directors – leading the way when it comes to breaking down gender barriers in the boardroom.

This has been a passion of hers for some time – she also works on Disney’s board where she promotes the principles behind young women at work.

Bill Gates

Probably the most famous entrepreneur, Bill Gates’ legacy as a leader in both technology and business has already been secured – largely down to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The charity has paid out $28.3 billion since its launch, supporting causes ranging from helping to improve the health of people in developing countries to offering opportunities to US citizens who simply would not be given them otherwise.

Gates’ reach in the world of business and popular culture is undeniable and few, if any, will be able to match what he has achieved.

Julie Meyer

Julie Meyer helped both Skype and Lastminute.com get funding in their early days and made a cool £33 million selling her networking business, First Tuesday.

Ms Meyer recently described herself as an introvert at the Women Outside the Box festival in October – despite spending her career getting to know and working alongside countless entrepreneurs.

Her latest venture, Entrepreneur Country, is a platform aiming to help launch the businesses of many more people wanting to follow in her footsteps.

Richard Branson

Is there anything that Richard Branson hasn’t been involved in at one point during his career. His beginnings of selling records from a phone booth have been well documented and Virgin Galaxy’s aim of becoming one of the first commercial space flight operators is a fantastic tale of how far one man can go with the right attitude.

Last month, Branson also launched Virgin StartUp, which has the sole aim of offering support – both financially and in the form of mentoring and advice – to thousands of young UK entrepreneurs just starting out on their own journey.

It is this astounding business acumen, sense of responsibility and undeniable flair that has guaranteed Richard Branson a place on this list.

Alan Sugar

Just like Branson, Lord Alan Sugar came from humble beginnings to master not only the world of business, but in recent years the world of TV entertainment.

The self-made millionaire is another who, on the face of it, seems to have had a crack at everything over the years – from founding his own computer firm Amstrad to owning Tottenham Hotspur FC.

In recent years, he has also been involved in government, after being appointed enterprise tsar in 2009 by then-prime minister Gordon Brown.