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Blog Breathe Fire Back into your Engine Room with these Dragons

Breathe Fire Back into your Engine Room with these Dragons

Hey – I’m Abbie and I’m thrilled to be the newest edition to the marketing team at Speakers Corner. A somewhat recent graduate from the University of Adelaide, I hold two degrees in Commerce and Media. Upon completion I decided to relocate from my small beachside town in South Australia to London. I am please to report that I’m loving it here so far, although it has taken some time to get accustomed to there being more people on the tube in the morning then there are in my entire town!

Have you ever experienced that one lightbulb moment that changes everything? Whether it’s figuring out the quickest route to get into work, finally understanding that chapter which has been racking your brains for weeks or a moment of inspiration to propel your career in a new direction.  

It’s a similar moment that we see the investors have on the famous TV program Dragon’s Den, when the Dragons spot an opportunity which is going to revolutionise an industry. They get a sparkle in their eyes and away they go…

We’ve pulled together a list of high-profile individuals who have all featured on Dragon’s Den. Arguably the brightest minds in business, entrepreneurship, branding and innovation, their expertise illuminates light bulbs in each of the audience members minds.

So without further ado, we introduce our fire-breathing line up of Dragons…

First on the list is Duncan Bannatyne, one of UK's most successful serial entrepreneurs who has successfully created a portfolio of leisure businesses as well as a high-profile media career. Delivering practical tips for businesses in managing finances, advice for budding entrepreneurs and the business mistakes to avoid, he is widely praised on the corporate circuit.

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James Caan is an expert in building successful businesses, investing over £1million in various companies during his time on Dragon’s Den. James is CEO and founder of investment firm Hamilton Bradshaw, and has used his experience in recruitment and as an entrepreneur, to write multiple books to help young entrepreneurs best peruse the path to success. His personal story, which includes starting a business in the UK to expanding globally, managing the business recovery during recessions, along with advice for small businesses, staff retention and tips for success, which are some of his highly requested topics!

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Best known for her role on Dragons' Den, Deborah Meaden is a highly successful businesswomen and entrepreneur, starting her first business fresh out of business college. Deborah became MD of holiday park business Westar Holidays and the major shareholder in a management buyout, leading to her entrepreneurial career. Deborah passionately interacts with audiences at events delivering messages on leadership, change management, entrepreneurship, business and retail subjects.

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Julie Meyer is the founder and CEO of Ariadne Capital, helping internet companies to expand across Europe, and is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed. With over 20 years investment and advisory experience in helping start-ups, as well as acting as an Dragon for BBC's online Dragon's Den, Julie is a sought after corporate speaker.

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A leading UK entrepreneur and renowned Dragon in the BBC TV series Dragons Den, Peter Jones has built a business empire worth over £200 million. With diverse business interests, his empire spans from mobile phones, to television, media, leisure and even property. Peter is a brilliant keynote speaker, drawing on his experience as owner, chairman and CEO of various businesses.

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Mumpreneur, Investor and Dragon, Sarah Willingham has won multiple entrepreneurial and business awards. Best known for turning the Bombay Bicycle Club into the largest chain of Indian restaurants in the UK, Sarah is also a founding director and investor in the London Cocktail Club. A popular speaker on leadership and teamwork, business turnarounds and entrepreneurism, as well as delving into her speciality subjects within the food and beverage, retail and leisure industries.

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Founder and the creative driving force behind YO! which includes YO! Sushi, the chain of internationally famous conveyor belt sushi bars and YOTEL, the world's most radical hotel: luxury in just 10sq metres. Former Dragon and serial entrepreneur, Simon Woodroffe is adept at sharing his personal tales of entrepreneurialism and success. Extremely motivating, full of charisma and engaging, Simon is an accomplished keynote and inspirational speaker. 

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Theo Paphitis is an expert in business turnarounds, after having purchased and turned around ailing companies and organisations including Ryman the Stationer, Contessa, La Senza and Millwall Football Club. He has also founded the successful lingerie brand Boux Avenue and has turned all these companies into successful businesses. His storytelling approach, with examples from high street businesses, ensure that every member of the audience is fully engaged with his knowledge of businesses that need a helping hand.

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Dragon and Chief Executive of UK's No. 1 palletised freight distribution network, Hilary Devey is an inspirational role model. In 2009 she made history by becoming the first woman to win the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport’s most prestigious accolade, the Sir Robert Lawrence Award. Passionate about boardroom skills, Hilary speaks on entrepreneurship and breaking through the glass ceiling.

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Piers Linney is a passionate businessman, a very successful entrepreneur, and former Dragon. Director of the government development at British Business Bank and having founded and appointed as CEO of technology and communications businesses, he has a wealth of knowledge to tap into. In a recent Q&A he expressed that for SME’s to attract talent, “it is key to sell the vision and seek out people who are genuine excited about joining the team to contribute to the success of the business”. Piers is a well-known champion of entrepreneurship and SME's, and confidently shares his own story and extensive knowledge with audiences across the world, never failing to impress.

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Chanelle McCoy shares her amazing journey having co-founded Chanelle Medical which now has a turnover of €100million. A highly sought-after business, leadership & motivational speaker ranked 23rd in the ‘50 incredible people shaping modern Ireland’, Chanelle is one of the newest members of Dragon's Den in Ireland. Chanelle shares her passion for mentoring and women in business addressing topics on global business, handling career pressures, time management and teamwork & using initiative.

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A globally renowned designer, entrepreneur and former Dragon, Kelly Hoppen MBE is known for her design work on landmark buildings, iconic products and association with personalities from the worlds of TV, fashion and film. She’s launched her debut e-commerce store and is a proud ambassador for the British government’s GREAT Campaign. Leaving a lasting impression with audiences, she covers topics including creativity & design, entrepreneurship, women in business, brand building, exporting and authenticity in leadership.

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Richard Farleigh has had a highly successful career in finance, and now operates as a business angel, backing the most start-ups in the UK. Appearing as a panellist on Dragons’ Den, and the author of the acclaimed 'Taming the Lion', Richard offers audiences an in-depth look at the many principles he has used over 20 years to become one of Europe’s most successful investors. One of his top tips for budding entrepreneurs – “Most new businesses fail. So, treat your first year as a research project to identify if there is a real market before you blow your life savings”.

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These dragons are the extra something that you can’t quite put your finger on, that lightbulb moment, the spark of innovation and creativity waiting to be unleashed across the business. We can’t recommend them highly enough!  

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