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According to Hong Kong-based astronomer, Jupiter Lai, the transition from the Chinese Year of the Ox to a Tiger year on 1st February 2022 will see a change in energy from a slow, gentle and hardworking nature, to one of speed, strength, and power.

The 2022 Year of the Tiger will be about making changes, taking risks and finding enthusiasm after the 2020 Rat year of survival, and 2021 Ox year of anchoring in a new reality.

Experts say that in the coming year, people will be fired up and passionate, generosity will be at a high, and social progress will feel like a possibility again. This is the year for career changes, building teams, and immersing ourselves in creative projects – a good sign for entrepreneurs.

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The growing trend for entrepreneurialism

Previous research carried out by The Accountancy Partnership revealed that side hustles are growing in popularity, becoming 40% more prevalent between 2019 and 2020, so perhaps we will see further growth in the Year of the Tiger. The year could hold potential for the 25% of start-up owners whose business ambitions include hiring one or more employees.

As well as suggesting an exciting year ahead for new start-ups, the start of a new Tiger year might also bring a new generation of people with future entrepreneurial potential.

Those born in the Year of the Tiger are characterized as being tough in the face of adversity, with a strong sense of justice and a commitment to the greater good. Tigers are known for their fierce hunting instinct, which may generate competition and conflict, but also helps them to achieve their goals.

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, we reflect on famous entrepreneurial Tigers, and the businesses founded in these years of ambition and power.

Previous Tiger years have started their lunar cycle with favourable conditions. The world was emerging from a global recession in the previous cycle of 2010, and the economy enjoying the dot com heyday before that in 1998.

Quirks and trends are always interesting, and new business founders can learn a lot from those who have done it before them.

In the last Year of the Tiger, 2010, the global job market began to improve after its most severe downturn since the Great Depression. Hopefully, there are many reasons for businesses and budding entrepreneurs to be confident following a global economic crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Famous entrepreneurial Tigers

Robert Jankel (1938-2005)

Jankel designed limousines, armoured cars, and other speciality vehicles, founding his business, Panther Westwinds, in 1972. The business produced high-end cars, such as the Panther De Ville – powered by a Jaguar engine and modelled after the Bugatti Royale. Jankel also founded The Jankel Group in 1955, but it remained little more than a hobby until Panther Westwinds was sold in 1979.

The Jankel Group built specialist versions of cars for other high-end manufacturers including Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, and Jaguar, as well as producing armoured cars for many police services, including the Metropolitan Police. The Jankel Group is still an operational, $100 million business building made-to-order vehicles.

Sir Richard Branson (1950-present)

Perhaps the most well-known Tiger entrepreneur is the Virgin Group founder. The group now controls more than 400 businesses in various sectors, including travel, rail, music, telecoms and more recently, space.

Branson’s potential was seen from a young age by both his parents, and a headmaster who said he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire. In 2000, Branson was knighted for services to entrepreneurship, and has been placed in the Time 100 Most Influential People in the World list. Forbes estimated his 2021 net worth at $5.7 billion.

Lakshmi Mittal (1950-present)

Indian steel magnate, Mittal, opened his first steel factory in Indonesia at the age of 26. He went on to achieve success with a steelworks in Trinidad and Tobago in 1989, buying it from the state when it was operating at a huge loss and turning it into a profitable venture.

Mittal is now a highly successful businessman, sitting on the board of directors of Goldman Sachs since 2008, as well as on the World Steel Association’s executive committee. He has appeared in various rich lists and business influence leagues. His net worth peaked at £27.70 billion in 2008 but decreased to £6.78 billion in 2020, according to The Sunday Times Rich List.

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Gabe Newell (1962-present)

After dropping out of Harvard to join Microsoft and play a part in creating the first iterations of the Windows operating system, Gabe Newell founded his video game development and distribution company, Valve.

Valve’s digital distribution service, Steam, which Newell led development on, controlled most of the market for downloaded PC games by 2011. In 2010, Forbes recognised Newell as “A Name You Should Know” and he received the BAFTA Fellowship award for his contributions to the video game industry. In December 2021, his estimated net worth was $3.9 billion.

Jillian Michaels (1974-present)

The personal trainer, author and TV personality opened her Beverley Hills sports medicine facility in 2002 and developed one of the top fitness apps globally – Jillian Michaels: The Fitness App.

She launched her company, Empowered Media, in 2008 and released her video membership website,, which is often referred to as the Netflix of fitness. As well as authoring nine books, Michaels has appeared as a trainer on reality show, The Biggest Loser, and had a spin-off show, Losing It With Jillian. Michaels’ net worth is thought to be about $18 million.

Ben Towers (1998-present)

The youngest entrepreneurial Tiger has been named as one of the most influential entrepreneurs on the planet, at just 23. Towers started his first business at the age of 11, before going on to found a digital marketing agency, invest in other start-ups, and becoming an advisor to governments and PLCs.

With a focus on tech for good, Towers is on a mission to connect his generation and tackle mental health issues through his platform, Tahora. Fellow Tiger, Sir Richard Branson, has dubbed him “one of the UK’s most exciting entrepreneurs”.

Businesses founded in Tiger years

  • Samsung – International electronics and technology corporation.
  • Kaplan – American for-profit education and training services provider.
  • Kangol – English clothing company famous for its hats.
  • Kenco Group – Logistics firm specialising in distribution and fulfilment, material handling, transportation management, and warehouse real estate.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts – Multinational coffee and doughnut company and quick-service restaurant.
  • Bernard Matthews – Farming and food products business specialising in turkey products.
  • Yves Saint Laurent – Luxury Paris fashion house.
  • Lionsgate Films – Film production and distribution studio.
  • Walmart – Multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores and grocery stores.
  • Stena Line – Swedish shipping line company and one of the largest ferry operators in the world.
  • Footlocker – Sportswear and footwear retailer operating in 28 countries.
  • Cotswold Outdoor – Outdoor recreation retailer in the UK and Ireland.
  • Sofology – British furniture retailer specialising in sofas.
  • Redrow – One of the largest British housebuilders, with a network of 14 operational divisions across the UK.
  • Pitcher and Piano – The UK’s first female-focused pub chain.
  • Charles Tyrwhitt – Men’s clothing retailer famed for its dress shirts, founded by University of Bristol student.
  • JOOP! – German luxury fashion house known for contemporary clothing and cosmetics.
  • Ubisoft – French video game company with franchises including Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry.
  • PayPal – Financial technology company and online payments operator.
  • Sweaty Betty – Women’s activewear retailer.
  • Innocent Drinks – Smoothie and juice production company selling over 2 million smoothies a week.
  • Google – Multinational technology company and internet search engine.
  • GoFundMe – For-profit crowdfunding platform.
  • Camden Town Brewery – London-based brewery behind Hells Lager.
  • Made – Homeware and furniture designer and retailer.

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About The Author

Ronan Ferguson

Marketing Executive and Part-Time Copywriter. When I'm not working, you'll likely find me in a boxing gym, or knocking balls around with a wooden stick on a green baize.

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