Dragon’s Den has been on our television screens since 2005, seeing a number of entrepreneurs pitching their products or services to a number of successful business people with a bid to win financial backing and support.  Please review the articles on our SME Advice blog for signposts to further advice and campaigns. 

Face for Business, a UK business telephone answering service, who advocates entrepreneurs and start-ups, looks at the background of the current Dragons. 

Duncan Bannatyne

An ice cream van that Duncan bought for £450 changed the direction of Duncan’s life.  Originally dealing in cars, it was the sale of this van that led Duncan to start selling ice creams.  He sold this business for £28,000, using the money to found a nursing home, which he went on to sell for £46m in 1996.  Currently, Duncan has an independent chain of health clubs across the UK.  Duncan also has his own charitable trust. Duncan has invested nearly £2m in the den. Duncan says the best advice he has received is to not look back.

Kelly Hoppen

Started her interior business at the sweet age of 16 and has not looked back since.  She has received a number of awards and received an MBE in 2009 for her services to interior design.  Kelly is also an author and is working on her eight book.  Kelly has a special interest in British entrepreneurs and, and is an ambassador for the Princes Trust and the Princes Initiative for Mature Enterprise.  She also works alongside the government on their GREAT campaign.   

Peter Jones

Owns a number of businesses from publishing to telecoms.  He was awarded a CBE in 2009 for his services to business, enterprise and young people.  Peter has a special interest in young entrepreneurs, and has set up the Peter Jones Foundation.  Peter has invested in more than 50 businesses, including the ‘Reggae Reggae’ Sauce enterprise.  He has invested over £3m in Dragon’s Den.

Piers Linney

Piers began his career in law and finance, and followed this working with mergers and acquisitions.  Piers then went on to start an internet business, as well as having being involved in a number of technological, media and telecommunications businesses.   Piers was also involved in the buyout of a major voice and data reseller, which ended up leading the way in this field of technology. 

Deborah Meaden

Started her first business straight from college with fashion franchise ‘Stefanel’.  She went onto become Managing Director of Westar Holidays, which was worth £83m when it was sold in August 2007.  To date, Deborah has invested just over £2m in Dragon’s Den.  The best advice that Deborah has been given is ‘remember what is important to your customers’.

The current series is on BBC2 each Sunday at 8pm.  See the BBC’s website for further information. 

Earlier this year, Face for Business had to pitch ‘Dragon’s Den’ style to a panel of expert marketing agencies, successfully going on to ‘win an agency’ with World of Initials. The ‘win an agency’ competition was a joint venture between Start-up Britain and the Marketing Agencies Association.  See our press release here


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