Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.

When Martha Stewart began a small catering business in her Westport, Connecticut, kitchen she had no idea that it would grow into a worldwide home-and-garden information empire. A former stockbroker turned suburban housewife, Stewart first cooked for friends and local organizations.

Stewart, Martha

Martha Stewart first offered help to "curious homemakers" with her 1982 book Entertaining. Driven to be rich and famous, Stewart went on to build a media empire based on showing others how to live tastefully and well.

McDonald's Corporation

In more than one hundred countries around the globe, the sight of two golden arches tells hungry diners that a fast, inexpensive meal is just a few moments away. The arches form the shape of the letter "M," which stands for McDonald's, the world's largest restaurant chain.

Kroc, Ray

In his career as a salesman and business owner, Ray Kroc not only took advantage of opportunities others offered him, he also made some of his own. Kroc saw that brothers Richard (died 1998) and Maurice McDonald (c.

Microsoft Corporation

Many companies make personal computers, but just one business—Microsoft Corporation—dominates the development of the software that runs on those machines. Microsoft built its success on its operating systems, the programs that control a computer's different functions and act as the "middlemen" between the machine's hardware and software.

Gates, Bill

The title "richest man in the world" suggests power and influence, along with vast wealth. Bill Gates, whose fortune is worth more than $30 billion, has all three.

Motown Records

During the early 1960s, radios across the United States played hit songs by such groups as the Temptations, the Four Tops, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. These artists helped shape what was called the "Motown" sound, named for their record company, Motown.

Gordy, Berry

Berry Gordy began his career in music by writing songs that others turned into hits. In 1959, he formed Motown Records and built a distinct "Motown sound," a mixture of traditional African American musical styles with modern pop music.

Netscape Communications Corporation

According to Netscape's Web site, the California-based company "aims to be the leading provider of open software that links people and information over the Internet and intranets." From its birth in 1994 to its meteoric rise and fall, Netscape was the spark that touched off the global Internet boom, turning the information superhighway into the vast and profitable commercial mecca it is today. Millions of users log on daily to send messages, check stocks, buy merchandise, pay bills, and do any number of transactions—all of which would not have been possible without Netscape, founded by recent college graduate Marc Andreessen and venture capitalist Jim Clark.

Andreessen, Marc

Marc Andreessen has been called many things in his young life—from boy wonder and "Golden Geek" to visionary and "Internet Evangelist"—all because he helped develop an Internet browser called Netscape Navigator. In the days when the Internet and World Wide Web were in their infancy, Andreessen's ability to simplify the information superhighway not only made him millions of dollars but thrust him into cutthroat competition with huge rival Microsoft.

Nike, Inc.

A relatively young company, Nike, Inc. has existed for only thirty years yet has managed to become one of the world's top companies, selling not only athletic shoes, but athletic clothing and equipment in 140 countries around the world.

Knight, Phil

Phil Knight has been called many things—from a track geek and free spirit to brash, rebellious, arrogant, even brilliant. Yet regardless of people's opinions, no one disputes his business skills or dedication to Nike.

PepsiCo, Inc.

With strong management and unique vision, PepsiCo, Inc., is not only a leader in the beverage and snack industry, it is one of the most successful companies in the world. Much of the company's success comes from the fact that it consistently stays in touch with changing trends and lifestyles, and gives consumers the tastes and conveniences they desire.

Kendall, Donald M.

Donald Kendall has been credited with transforming a failing company, whose competitor Coca-Cola did not even acknowledge it as a challenger, to one of the most successful beverage and snack food companies in existence today. Kendall quickly learned the skills necessary to be a great salesman, and was able to sell Pepsi in a place where American soda had never been introduced: the former Soviet Union.

Procter & Gamble Company

The history of the Procter & Gamble Company, formed in 1837, is not nearly as well known as its wide variety of products. With over 250 brand names Procter & Gamble is the largest consumer goods company in the United States; virtually every American uses a Procter & Gamble product every day.

Procter, William Cooper

William Cooper Procter was born in 1862, the only son of William Alexander and Charlotte Procter and the grandson of William Procter (1801-1884), a founder of Procter & Gamble. As a third-generation Procter, young William Cooper (called "Cooper" to distinguish him from his father and grandfather) introduced many innovative changes to the P&G workplace during a time in U.S.

Gamble, James Norris

James Gamble (1803-1891), a founding partner in Procter & Gamble, and his wife Elizabeth Norris Gamble had nine children. Their first son, James Norris Gamble, was born in 1836 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and went on to play a pivotal role at the Procter & Gamble Company.

Sesame Workshop

Sunny day, sweepin' the clouds away.…" For more than thirty years, children around the world have known that these words, sung to a bouncy beat, mean just one thing: another episode of Sesame Street is about to begin. The show started as an experiment in using television to educate preschoolers.

Cooney, Joan Ganz

Armed with a degree in education and a knowledge of the power of television, Joan Ganz Cooney changed how young children learn. Before she helped start Sesame Street, the few educational television shows available were usually boring.

Starbucks Corporation

Starbucks began selling roasted arabica coffee beans from a small shop in Seattle, Washington, in 1971. Through taste tests and word of mouth, Starbucks coffee soon became the beverage of choice among coffee drinkers of all ages, and additional Starbucks stores opened in Seattle and in the state of Washington.

Schultz, Howard

Howard Schultz took a small coffee shop chain and infused it with an Italian flair for fun and relaxation to create a unique American cultural phenomenon. There may be dozens of imitators, yet none has matched the popularity of Starbucks.

Target Corporation

For years, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and Kmart Corporation (see entries) dominated the discount retailing industry, offering low prices on a wide range of goods. Few people considered these companies or their smaller competitors trendy: shoppers came looking for bargains, not style.

Field, Marshall

Marshall Field is considered to be one of the greatest retailers of all time. He virtually created the modern department store, and he played a large role in Chicago's transformation from a small town to a major city.

Tupperware, Inc.

When Earl S. Tupper invented Poly-T, a new and better form of plastic, he opened the door for plastic to become a key material in household products.

Tupper, Earl

By making plastic attractive for home use and inventing a lid that kept food fresh, Earl Tupper revolutionized the storage industry and influenced the design of all sorts of household products. And, even though he died in 1983, his legacy will live on for years since his name can be found stamped on plastic products in almost every kitchen across the United States.

United States Steel Corporation

In 1901, some of the world's greatest industrial and financial leaders joined forces to create the United States Steel Corporation. The company dominated the steel market during the first half of the twentieth century, and for a time, U.S.

Carnegie, Andrew

In his lifetime, Andrew Carnegie built a vast fortune by making steel. His company helped lead the United States into a new industrial age, and became the foundation for U.S.

Vera Wang Bridal House Ltd

A Vera Wang creation is to the bridal industry what Jaguar is to the luxury car market—both are recognized immediately for their elegance and are unrivaled in beauty and distinction. In 1990, Vera Wang began designing wedding gowns in a small boutique in New York City.

Wang, Vera

Vera Wang was born in New York City in 1949 to wealthy Chinese parents who had arrived in the United States during World War 11 (1939-45). Her father, Cheng Ching Wang, ran an international pharmaceuticals company, while her mother Florence had been a translator at the United Nations and was the daughter of one of China's last ruling warlords.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

On July 2, 1962, a new store opened in the small town of Rogers, Arkansas. The sign outside the store assured customers, "We Sell for Less" and "Satisfaction Guaranteed." The man making those promises was Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart.

Walton, Sam

Sam Walton's passions included flying his own plane over the American countryside, hunting with his dogs, and sharing his good fortune with his family. But Walton will always be best remembered for his lifelong passion for providing low prices and good service to customers at Wal-Mart, his chain of discount stores that revolutionized the retail industry.

Walt Disney Company

Starting with animated films featuring animals, including a particularly famous white-gloved mouse, the Walt Disney Company grew to become a leading provider of all forms of family entertainment. It also established one of the world's best-known and respected brand names.

Disney, Walt

During his career, Walt Disney found ways to make children of all ages believe in a certain kind of magic. His films brought talking animals to life.