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Last Updated: Friday, 11 July, 2003, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Who is Britain's best entrepreneur?
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.
Simon Hickey, UK

That Dyson guy who invented the bagless vacuum and two drum washing machine
Nicki, England
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.
Charles Waddams, New Zealand

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.
Nicki, England

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.
Chris Finn, England

Sir Clive Sinclair, who was responsible for bringing computing to the home. Look at where we are now.
Michael Tott, UK

I nominate Ug the hairy fellow who discovered that wheel thing
Solomon Rehnquist, USA
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: ZX80, ZX81, self-assembly LED watch, pocket TV, oh and the C5 (well 4 out of 5 isn't bad).
John Brooks, 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".
Solomon Rehnquist, USA

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.
Vicky, UK

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




VOTE RESULTS
Who is Britain's best entrepreneur?
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group
 57.21% 
James Dyson, inventor and vacuum cleaner pioneer
 17.05% 
Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of Easyjet
 9.55% 
Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop
 4.08% 
Sir Robin Saxby, founder of ARM Holdings
 3.40% 
Sir Clive Sinclair, inventor
 5.54% 
Sir Alan Sugar, founder of Amstrad Computers
 3.18% 
15433 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
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