The Global Business Hall of Fame, presented by JA Worldwide, features entrepreneurs and business leaders spanning the last two centuries. From the inventor of blue jeans to the co-founder of one of the world’s leading biotech companies, visitors to the digital showcase find a diverse set of influencers to kindle their entrepreneurial spirit.
History of the Business Hall of Fame
From 1975 to 2009, the Business Hall of Fame inducted 247 laureates. Some were founders of successful companies. Others were CEOs, industry pioneers, or publishers. Each demonstrated a commitment to their communities—locally and globally—and each inspired young people preparing for employment and entrepreneurship.
2020 Launch of the Global Business Hall of Fame
As JA and the landscape of business have evolved, so, too, has the Business Hall of Fame. In 2020, the initiative relaunched and rebranded as the “Global Business Hall of Fame, presented by JA Worldwide,” creating an opportunity for communities and schools around the world to celebrate and recognize innovators and leaders in business.
Asheesh Advani, JA Worldwide CEO, believes the time is right for business role models to take center stage. “With so many halls of fame for athletes and entertainers, we need more and more role models that inspire young people who have an interest in entrepreneurship. This is especially true in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, South America, and other historically underrepresented regions of the world, where youth may have trouble seeing themselves as future global business leaders. We’re bringing the stories of our laureates to life by creating a digital exhibit that is truly global in scope. The Global Business Hall of Fame has found a way to inspire young people as they develop an entrepreneurial mindset and begin to build their first businesses.”
The Global Business Hall of Fame is reflective of JA’s global reach, the diversity of JA students, and the wide range of industries and prioritizes nominees who are working toward the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs), reinforcing to JA students that they have the power to be a force for global good. In addition, nominees for new laureates are grouped into two categories:
- Leader: Executive-level professional who inspires others, the Leader’s contributions have advanced the landscape of business with a focus on improving lives. As a result, the Leader has led companies and initiatives toward the Global Goals and is a role model who exhibits social values, inclusivity, and a global point of view. The Leader is likely to have led ventures with a large scope of responsibility, resources, and talent.
- Innovator: Under 40 years of age, entrepreneurial in spirit, and community focused, the Innovator is changing the landscape globally or has recently emerged on the global stage. The Innovator is an inspiration, full of energy, passionate about work, courageous, and a promoter of change and innovation on behalf of the global good.
The Global Business Hall of Fame 2021 Laureates
We’re pleased to announce four new laureates for 2021:
- Melanie Perkins (innovator): Co-founder and CEO of Canva, Melanie is one of the world’s youngest female tech-startup CEOs. Since launching the visual-communications platform in 2012, users in 190 countries have created over five billion designs on Canva. In December 2020, a $71 million round led by investors including Dragoneer and T. Rowe Price, gave the company a valuation of US $15 billion. The company used the additional funding to expand the team, with more than 1,500 employees located in offices across Sydney, Beijing, Austin, and Manila.
- Divine Ndhlukula (leader): Divine is the Founder and Managing Director of DDNS Security Operations (Pvt) Ltd., the holding company for SECURICO Security Services, Canine Dog Services, and MULTI-LINK P/L, an electronic security systems company. From humble beginnings, she founded SECURICO Security Services in 1999, with only four employees. The company has now grown to over 4,000 staff, who are among the most respected and sought-after players in the Zimbabwean security industry.
- Cornel Amariei (innovator): Born in Romania, Cornel was raised by parents with locomotor disabilities. His sister also lives with cerebral disability. Inspired by his family, Cornel founded .lumen in 2020, a startup that builds glasses that empower the sight-impaired to live better lives. With 40 million blind people and only 20,000 guide dogs, .lumen built the first system to mimic the features of a guide dog for the other 39,980,000 blind individuals.
- Alice Bentinck (leader): Alice is the co-founder of Entrepreneur First, a UK-headquartered talent investor and company builder that invests in ambitious individuals building technology startups across Europe, Asia, and North America. Alice is also the co-founder of Code First Girls, offering free coding courses for university women.
The Global Business Hall of Fame nomination process has been designed—with support from PwC—to engage diverse stakeholders from around the world and to ensure protocols are followed in the selection of laureates. To ensure fairness and transparency, the annual process involves checking performed by PwC as the Global Process Integrity Partner of the Global Business Hall of Fame. PwC looks at JA Worldwide’s processes for entry evaluation, manages the committee selection of the top eight finalists, and provides the Voting Jury platform.
Each of our new laureates joins a digital exhibit with interactive, aspirational content, designed for students who are learning at home, at school, or through JA programs. Learn more about our featured laureates at businesshalloffame.org . . . and prepare to be inspired!
About JA Worldwide
As one of the world’s largest youth-serving NGOs, JA Worldwide prepares young people for employment and entrepreneurship. For 100 years, JA has delivered hands-on, experiential learning in work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. Each year, our network of over 590,000 volunteers and teachers serves more than 10 million students in over 100 countries. Visit us at jaworldwide.org.