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Dame Stephanie Shirley

IT company founder

Became a pioneering tech entrepreneur, philanthropist and icon for gender equality.

After coming to the UK as a child refugee, escaping pre-World War Two Germany on the Kindertransport, Stephanie was driven to justify her survival. She founded an IT company in 1962 on her living room table, with just £6 in capital. Under her assumed name of ‘Steve’, she transformed this into a multi-billion pound company, while changing the perception of women in tech. She received a Damehood in 2000 and a Companion of Honour in 2017, an award held by only 65 living people. She has given away most of her wealth to the autism charities she set up to support her late son Giles. She continues to share her expertise to transform the lives of others.

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