Leaders in the spotlight: Deborah Meaden

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Deborah Meaden

Deborah Meaden was born February 11, 1959 in Somerset, UK and is a is a successful British entrepreneur who ran a multimillion-pound family caravan park business called Weststar Holidays, before completing a management buyout in 1999.

Meaden then sold the company just six years later, the group had EBITDA in excess of £11 million. In 2005, she made a partial exit when Weststar was sold in a deal worth £33 million to Phoenix Equity Partners, and, in August 2007, her remaining stake of 23% in Weststar Holidays was liquidated when the firm was sold to Alchemy Partners for £83 million, valuing her stake at about £19 million.

It was in 2006 that the BBC called and introduced her to the idea of being a “dragon” on the hit TV series, Dragons’ Den. Meaden took over from Rachel Elnaugh in the third series of the show and Like was the only female “dragon” on the programme.

Two of Meaden’s most successful investments in the den have been entrepreneur Jordan Daykin who then at the age of 19 claimed £80,000 from Dragons’ Den judge Deborah Meaden in 2014 for his Gripit Fixings business. Daykin and the company still work with Meaden today and have recently been valued at £20 million.

Dock & Bay is another company which Meaden has invested in which has gone on to become a success. The company which appeared Dragons’ Den in 2017 originally receiving two other offers from Tej Lalvani and Touker Suleyman, the group would eventually choose Meaden and are now working together on the next stage of this growing towel brand.

Dock & Bay
Dock & Bay have gone on to have tremendous success since gaining investment

In a statement regarding Dock & Bay, Meaden said: “When Andy and Benno unveiled their towels I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be interested in their business. But these are not just towels, they are disruptive towels! Doing what towels have done for years only faster, lighter, more compact. The best kind of business..take a product everyone knows and uses and make it better.

“I could also see the business was in exactly the right hands. Not only do they know their stuff but they are their product so their authenticity shines through. I was very pleased when they accepted my offer… can’t wait to change the face of towels forever!”

When asked about the future in a recent interview with BLM, Meaden seems excited about not knowing what might be around the corner.

“I have the absolute joy of not having the slightest idea what he future holds. I’ve spent my life planning. When I was in the holiday park business I’d already started doing next year’s tariffs in May, so I was always thinking at least a year ahead and living a year ahead too.

“Now, people expect me to be a planned person with all these goals to achieve but I’m having the absolute joy of thinking I can do pretty much what I want to do, and I am open to opportunity.

“I’m scanning the horizon and if something comes up that I want to do, then I’ll do it. Strictly Come Dancing was never a plan, they just phoned me. Dragons’ Den was never a plan either, they just phoned me too. Some of the most exciting things that have happened in my life have come completely off plan.”

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