Dame Stephanie Shirley (84) arrived in Britain in 1939 as an unaccompanied child refugee from Nazi Europe. She took her maths degree at evening classes.
She is now the most successful tech entrepreneur you never heard of. She founded a pioneering software house back in 1962 as a company of women, a company for women. Its eventual flotation led to 70 of her 8,500 staff becoming millionaires, and the company was co-owned by the staff with a value of around $3bn when it was acquired in 2007.
Her entrepreneurial zeal and zest also led to four sustainable notforprofits: The Oxford Internet Institute (which focuses on the internet’s social, economic, legal and ethical aspects) and three in the field of autism (her late son’s disorder): Autism at Kingwood (support services), Prior’s Court Foundation (education) and Autistica (medial research).
This ardent venture philanthropy has involved social investments totally £68m to 100 projects, many of which she also initiated.
Her TED Talk has already been viewed two million times and filming starts on her memoir Let IT Go next year when she will also celebrate her diamond (60 years) wedding with her physicist husband.