Beyonce And Oprah
Beyonce and Oprah Winfrey Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Most of America’s wealthiest executives continue to be men, as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett still have a dominating presence in their industries.

But women entrepreneurs continue to make strides. Some of those wealthy businesswomen include notable names in the entertainment industry such as Oprah Winfrey, Madonna and Beyonce.

Yet most of America's wealthiest businesswomen aren’t just confined to famed recording artists or media megastars. In some cases, they are leading prominent tech and media companies like YouTube and Facebook.

There has been an across-the-board improvement for women in business. The number of successful businesses run by women has increased by 114 percent over the last 20 years, according to data from a 2017 report by the National Association of Woman Business Owners (NAWBO). The same report noted that women own an estimated 11.6 million U.S.-based businesses.

Many woman-owned businesses have been thriving, with revenue of $1.7 trillion in sales in 2017. Woman-owned businesses also make up about 39 percent of all privately owned companies.

There are also encouraging signs for women when it comes to small businesses. Roughly 20 percent of companies with sales of at least $1 million are woman-owned, according to the NAWBO report.

Yet despite those encouraging signs, female entrepreneurs have found it increasingly difficult to access venture capital funding for start-up businesses and remain much less likely to attract funding than male entrepreneurs, according to a study by Venture Capital in July 2017.

Lenders also tend to offer businesswomen smaller loans than their male counterparts, according to Fundera, an online lending platform.

Despite many obstacles and challenges, many women are still seeing their net worth surge.

The list of America's richest self-made women includes plenty of notable names and some that may not be quite so recognizable. (All figures come from Forbes, unless otherwise noted.)