Oprah Winfrey, a public figure known among Americans and others around the world, rose to success from a poor young girl to one of the wealthiest top-rated daytime talk show hosts of her time. Her entrepreneurial success has been contributed to her ability to overcome barriers as a minority. As an African-American woman, she faced discrimination and entrepreneurial obstacles that should have discouraged her from pursuing her dream. Through her passion, perseverance, and hard work, Oprah successfully started her own production company, Harpo Productions, Inc., which now has grown into an empire. As a minority entrepreneur, inspires others to pursue their dreams no matter how unfeasible it may ...view middle of the document...
In 1976, she worked with WJZ-TV News in Baltimore and co-hosted the talk show People Are Talking, while also working as an anchor and news reporter (Academy of Achievement, 2013). When Oprah was 22 years old, she became the first black woman co-anchor (Alleyne, 2008). Because of her success, she was offered to host a morning program on WLS-TV in Chicago. In September 1985, the program was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show (Academy of Achievement, 2013). Within a year, The Oprah Winfrey Show became the number one talk show in the nation. The show received various awards from a number of prestigious societies. In 1985, she won over American’s hearts with her performance in the movie The Color Purple earning herself nominations for an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award.
Harpo Productions, Inc.
In 1986, Oprah formed Harpo Productions, Inc. only with five employees in the hopes of producing quality entertainment for many people. With her own production company, she was able to produce, direct, and act in some of her own shows. Some of these shows included The Women of Brewster (1989), There Are No Children Here (1993), and Before Women Had Wings (1997), and, of course, The Oprah Winfrey Show (Academy of Achievement, 2013). It was a bold move on Oprah’s part to acquire the rights for her talk show from ABC once she established Harpo Productions. Since then, she has owned the name, studio, brand, and content of her franchise (Alleyne, 2008). Oprah extended Harpo Productions to include Harpo Films, Harpo Print (the O Magazine), Harpo Video, and Harpo Radio (Oprah & Friends) (NNDB, n.d.). In addition to the Oprah Winfrey Network, her growing book club collection has been instrumental in gaining revenue (Ulrich, 2006). She also partnered with Oxygen Media, Inc. to produce programs directed primarily towards women (NNDB, n.d.). Along with The Oprah Winfrey Show, Harpo Inc. has also produced other well-known talk shows such as Dr. Phil, and The Dr. Oz Show (Academy of Achievement, 2013). Although she had much success with her other business ventures, she continued to expand her brand and created the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in 2011 after retiring from The Oprah Winfrey Show (Alleyne, 2008).
The Barriers of a Minority Entrepreneur
In 2003, Forbes named Oprah the first African-American woman to become a billionaire (NNDB, n.d.). Oprah is considered a minority because of her struggle in a low-income family as a child. With her caregivers working low-income jobs, Oprah was deprived of essential resources such as a flushing toilet, and quality shoes and clothes. However, she was fortunate to get both a high school and university education. As an African-American woman, she was believed to have little chance in succeeding in the entertainment business because not many women let alone African American women were successful in achieving such a status. She set the model as the first African American woman to achieve such a noteworthy status.
Oprah’s desire to...