Some of the country's most respected business men and women started out by risking everything for a bright idea.
Their success has inspired others to take a leap of faith and turn business plans into fully functioning companies.
As part of BBC News Online's series on small business, we asked readers to nominate their favourite entrepreneurs for a shortlist.
Vote now for your most admired entrepreneur - the voting form is on the right-hand side of this page.
A selection of your nominations
James Dyson - inventor of ball barrow, Dyson vacuum and more efficient washing machines. Nuff said.
Alan Sugar's my choice, because of his Amstrad success, first with hi-fi equipment. Then he introduced a word processor and later took on IBM and was amongst the first - or probably the first - to bring out a an IBM-compatible PC and for many years was the No. 1 rival to IBM.
Richard Branson - definitely Britain's best entrepreneur. If he can be successful in the Australian flight industry (and he certainly is), then he must be a genius with will-power. Many before him have tried and failed due to protectionism in the market.
George Cook, Australia
Richard Branson has done a fantastic job building the Virgin empire, but James Dyson gets my vote. He took the huge risk of going it alone to build his product, and shook up the whole industry. For as long as I can remember, every brand of vacuum cleaner has always been called a "Hoover", but a Dyson is always a "Dyson".
Mike Clarke, UK
That Dyson guy who invented the bagless vacuum and two drum washing machine.
Richard Branson has to be the best entrepreneur surely. He has his fingers in so many pies and seems to turn everything he touches into gold, his trains being a notable exception! Midas Branson.
Sir Clive Sinclair, who was responsible for bringing computing to the home. Look at where we are now.
Michael Tott, UK
I vote for Sir Richard Branson, as he has been running a successful and innovative brand now for longer than any of the others. He is a master of generating positive publicity, that enhances his own image as well as that of Virgin Group.
Stephen Forster, UK
Sir Robin Saxby has built ARM up into the UK's only technology company of any real standing globally.
David Thomson, Scotland
Clive Sinclair. Look at the list:
self-assembly LED watch,
oh and the C5 (well 4 out of 5 isn't bad).
USA (UK ex-pat)
I nominate Ug the hairy fellow who discovered that
wheel thing. Failing that, the Persians & Indians
did a lot to advance mathematics.
Remember what even Isaac Newton, not noted for his
humility, once said: "I am here because I stood on
the shoulders of giants".
Although I very much admire Anita Roddick, Richard Branson and Stelios Haji-Ioannou for how they have all revolutionised their respective industries, my vote has to go to James Dyson for his true inventiveness and amazing tenacity.
Richard Branson has got to be this country's business guru, but Stelios Haji-Ioannou is a marketing marvel at work. Who else would wear placards and hand out leaflets during a film at someone else's cinema?
Ben Sheard, UK