As a young woman, Stephanie Shirley worked at the Dollis Hill Research Station building computers from scratch: but she told young admirers that she worked for the Post Office, hoping they would think she sold stamps. In the early 60s she changed her name to Steve and started selling computer programmes to companies who had no idea what they were or what they could do, employing only mothers who worked from home writing code by hand with pen and pencil and then posted it to her. By the mid-80s her software company employed eight thousand people, still mainly women with children. She made an absolute fortune but these days Stephanie thinks less about making money and much more about how best to give it away.
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Entrepreneur Dame Stephanie Shirley joins Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs.
As a child, she escaped Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport - travelling across Europe for two days in a train with a thousand children and just two adults. She went on to set up a computer programming company which made her a millionaire many times over. But she has given away most of her fortune and now is an ambassador for philanthropy. Her determination throughout it all, she says, has been to prove that hers was a life worth saving.