Yorkshire business woman Sarah Agar-Brennan has successfully tamed the Dragons on BBC’s Dragons Den.
After sharing a strong and very personal pitch, the Leeds entrepreneur sparked interest with Peter Jones, Tej Lalvani and Jenny Campbell, who all wanted a stake in her emoji cushions business.
With the ball in Sarah’s court, an £80,000 investment for 30% stake in her business was negotiated, with the expert backing from Tej and Jenny.
Sarah said: “I’ve been bowled over by people’s response, and been told I’ve done Leeds and Yorkshire proud! I went into the den with a mindset to win. You have to ignore the lights and cameras, pitch your best and have all the answers waiting to their questions.”
Stephen Waud, BEF CEO is delighted to hear of Sarah’s success in the den. He said: “We’re all thrilled to see yet another one of our clients not only grow their business, but take on the dragons and win some fantastic investment. It’s a testament to Sarah’s determination and ambition and I look forward to seeing what’s next for Love Bomb Cushions.
“Hundreds of younger businesses approach us to help them grow, having been refused finance by mainstream lenders. Businesses like Sarah’s carry huge potential, we’re proud to have helped kick-start her venture and see continual growth for her business.”
Sarah continued: “The Dragon’s backing has been a big boost, but I’ll also say that the BEF backing has been integral for us.
“Their funding was there when we needed it, to secure contracts with Debenhams department store. Small businesses need an army on the ground to fight their corner, and that’s exactly what the people at BEF have been for us for over two years.”
Sarah first approached the Business Enterprise Fund in 2015, receiving start-up funding to open a pop-up shop in Leeds city centre.
After building momentum with local shoppers – much driven by their giant walking emoji mascot, the business successfully entered larger retail markets, which was financed further by BEF to help the company fulfil their orders.
Sarah is one of several BEF clients to enter the den. In 2012 Alison Whitmarsh of Proper Maid bakery in Huddersfield received backing from Deborah Meaden, helping her secure contracts with Pret a Manger and Manchester Airport, where her unique cakes and bakes are sold.