How she made her pile: Rosalia Mera, Clothing entrepreneur

Who is she?

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

A Spanish entrepreneur/philanthropist who owns 7% of Inditex, parent of the hugely successful Zara chain of stores. This and her other holdings are thought to be worth $2.6bn (£1.6bn).

How did she make her billions? Born in 1944, she was married to Amancio Ortega, Spain's richest man (the secretive 'Mr Zara'); they divorced in 1986. They started clothing business Inditex at home in 1974 - she designed and made dressing gowns and lingerie - and it's now one of the world's largest clothing firms, with 4,000-plus stores and sales of more than $12bn. When it went public in 2001, she received $600m, and she invested the cash in businesses ranging from film to biotechnology. She is president of the Paideia Foundation, which helps people with disabilities.

The secret of her success? Alas, it looks like hard work. The company that made her fortune started out as a cottage industry in her home. And even now, at retirement age, she remains an active businesswoman and award-winning philanthropist.

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