Global Business Hall of Fame, presented by JA Worldwide

August 12, 2020

The Global Business Hall of Fame, presented by JA Worldwide—officially launched online in May 2020—features top entrepreneurs and business leaders from the past two centuries. From the inventor of blue jeans to the co-founder of one of the world’s leading biotech companies, young people will find a diverse set of influencers to kindle their entrepreneurial spirit in this digital showcase. 

From 1975 to 2009, the Business Hall of Fame inducted 247 celebrate laureates. Some were founders of successful companies. Others were CEOs, industry pioneers, or publishers. Each demonstrated a commitment to their communities, both locally and globally, and each inspired young people preparing for employment and entrepreneurship.


As JA and the landscape of business have evolved, so, too, has the Business Hall of Fame. Relaunching in 2020 as the Global Business Hall of Fame, presented by JA Worldwide, this initiative creates an opportunity for communities and schools around the world to celebrate and recognize innovators and leaders in business.

The new Global Business Hall of Fame is more reflective of JA’s global reach, of the diversity of JA students, and of a 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.


Global Business Hall of Fame laureates now fall into two categories: 

  • Leader: An executive-level professional who is an inspiration to others, the Leader’s contributions have advanced the landscape of business with a focus on improving the lives of others. 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 emerged on the global stage as a result of the Innovator’s work. The Innovator is an inspiration, full of energy, and passionate about work, courageous, and a promoter of change and innovation on behalf of the global good.

Asheesh Advani, JA Worldwide CEO, is eager for students around the world to be inspired by these business leaders’ stories. “We have halls of fame for athletes and entertainers, but we need more role models with diversity of background, gender, and geography to inspire young people with an interest in entrepreneurship and business. We need young people in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, South America, and other historically underrepresented regions of the world to see themselves as future global business leaders. Our vision is to bring the stories of business leaders and innovators to life by creating a digital exhibit that is truly global in scope. The Global Business Hall of Fame provides inspiration to young people as they develop an entrepreneurial mindset and begin to build their first businesses.”

Steve Sear, Delta’s President—International and EVP of Global Sales, agrees. “Delta is proud to support JA at more than 30 chapters across four continents as they work to leverage the power of education to transform lives. Our world is changing rapidly, and JA’s mission to build the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs who will shape our future has never been more important than it is today. Congratulations to the Global Business Hall of Fame 2020 Laureates—each of you has already made a difference, and I can’t wait to see what you do next.”



  • Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al Thani (Qatar): Founder of Amwal, Qatar’s first regulated investment company, which helped develop Qatar’s robust economic and social presence in the Arab world.

  • Strive Masiyiwa (Zimbabwe): Founder and executive chairman of Econet, an international technology group, and one of the early pioneers of the mobile telecoms industry in Africa.

Innovators (under 40 years of age):

  • Ayah Bdeir (Lebanon): The founder of littleBits, an award-winning company with a mission to empower kids to be changemakers through invention and creativity.

  • Boris Kolev (Bulgaria): A serial social entrepreneur who has been building IT, fintech, and mobile software-development companies, with sustainability at their core, since he was 18 years old.

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 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 newest laureates joins a digital exhibit that features two dozen existing laureates, each with their own interactive, aspirational content, designed for students who are learning at home, at school, or through JA programs. Visit our featured laureates . . . and prepare to be inspired!


Other news