10 Richest Women in Australia: Nepalese Jamuna Gurung ranked 8th
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 9, 2015
But few people have heard of the woman at the top – reclusive Vicky Teoh.
Teoh has been the richest self-made woman in Australia every year since the publication of the first Rich Women list in 2013. This year her personal fortune is estimated at $938 million.
Australia’s Richest self-made women (Net wealth $m)
Teoh and her husband, David, emigrated from Malaysia in the 1980s and founded TPG Telecom. Teoh owns a big chunk of TPG shares in her own right and is also active in the family’s investments in start-ups such as online spectacles retailer Oscar Wylee.
The BRW Rich Women list, published to celebrate International Women’s Day, highlights the 30 wealthiest self-made women in Australia. To be eligible, the women must have contributed to the creation of their wealth, and not have inherited any significant sum from the previous generation. Mining magnate Gina Rinehart is excluded because of her inheritance from her father, Lang Hancock, despite her phenomenal success in business.
The women on the list have a combined wealth of $5.4 billion, up from $4.5 billion in 2014, and most individuals saw gains.
There are four entertainers: Nicole Kidman, Kylie Minogue, Elle Macpherson and Cate Blanchett. The corporate high-flyers include former Westpac boss Gail Kelly, mining executive Ines Scotland, Harvey Norman boss Katie Page, and Macquarie Bank executive Shemara Wikramanayake.
But 22 of the 30 women on the list – from Nutrimetics co-founder Imelda Roche at 80 to Carman’s Fine Foods owner Carolyn Creswell at 41 – earned their fortune by founding and building their own businesses, in diverse industries such as fashion, food and hotels, either alone or with a partner.
Baker’s Delight joint chief executive Lesley Gillespie, who started the business with her husband, Roger, is on the list with $75 million. The couple started with one bakery in Melbourne in 1980 and now have 700 stores in Australia, New Zealand and Canada through a franchise model. Baker’s Delight will open its first US store in Connecticut this June.
“My main aim when we first started was that we would have enough money to choose which schools to send our children to,” Gillespie says. “It’s nice to have that choice and it’s nice to be in a position where Roger and I are able to be philanthropic because we have the cash flow.”
Brisbane-based Sarina Russo, worth about $103 million, is a solo entrepreneur in the employment and training sector and a property investor. Russo believes that entrepreneurship can solve unemployment and is particularly good for women.
“Nothing is greater than having options and choices in life and women today can have those choices,” Russo says. “If you can evolve into financial independence it’s a great start to giving you extraordinary choices and it empowers you.”
Boost Juice founder Janine Allis, who stars as one of the “sharks” on TEN’s reality show Shark Tank, is on the list with $66 million. Allis opened her first juice bar in Adelaide in 2000 and her business empire now includes Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, Cibo Espresso and Hatch as well as Boost Juice. Allis made money last year when private equity investor Bain Capital bought into the business, but her family still owns a big stake.
Allis says she would encourage other women to start their own businesses, though she warns work-life balance is non-existent in the early years.
“If what I’ve done can inspire other women to give it a go that would be a great thing – my view is that women are very clever and we can create and smash whatever glass ceiling is there,” Allis says.