The judges said that Beckham was a “finely tuned business acumen” for expanding her fashion empire into a business with a £30m turnover and a staff of 100.
Editor Matthew Gwyther, of by Management Today magazine which created the list accepted that some may “scoff” at the fact that the former Spice Girl came top.
But he said she had created “a company that is both real and wildly successful”.
Gwyther admitted “some will say she’s never been taught how to cut a pattern, or iron a pleat on a fashion course… Doubters will claim she’s just the wife of the world’s most famously over-tattooed ex-footballer. It’s all come to her far too easily.”
But he pointed out that “celebrity has long been a powerful commercial tool” and called her “an adept exploiter of her own celeb value”.
And he said doubters could not argue with the figures as she has achieved – a sales growth of nearly 3000 per cent and employment growth of the same level of percentage growth over the past five years, adding “her numbers are impressive”.
The former Spice Girl launched her fashion label in 2008 and by 2011, she won designer brand of the year at the British Fashion Awards.
In September, she opened her first shop in London’s Mayfair whilst the company also includes a lower-priced Victoria line and she also sells luxury handbags for prices up to £18,000 each.
In second place, Amit & Meeta Patel’s business Auden Mckenzie reported £52m turnover in its latest annual accounts, a rise of nearly 4,000 per cent in the last five years. The firm employs 79 people in the UK.
Third-placed Mahmud Kamani, the man behind online fashion retailer Boohoo.com, is worth £290m. Latest turnover for his business is £110m, a 750 per cent rise in five years.
In total, the 100 entrepreneurs have added more than 61,556 employees to their payrolls, taking their head count to 158,189.
Since the last list in 2011, turnover among the entrepreneurs identified has risen from £16.1bn to £30.2bn, an 88 per cent jump.
“From the depths of the downturn until last year, these business heroes have been doggedly expanding, taking on staff and somehow bucking the all-prevailing gloom,” noted the magazine.