Dragon’s Den on TV – top 5 most successful businesses

Dragon’s Den Peter Jones in the Solopress Printing blog

Dragon’s Den, Britain’s second favourite business TV programme, returned to our screens last night. But what have been the show’s biggest successes over the years? Solopress look at our five faves…

Dragon's Den is on BBC TWO and the BBC iPlayer

The confident walk down the stairs. The insane company ‘over’ evaluation. The confused pitch. The flustered face. The complete lack of commercial awareness. The stern look – and razor sharp questions – from the five impatient multi-millionaire investors. The rejections that quickly follow. The crestfallen walk back up the stairs with no investment secured.

Yes, Dragon’s Den is back. After all, UK plc desperately needs something to inspire all of us now that the athletes have gone back to their crazy training schedules for the Rio Olympics. Meantime, here’s a timely look back at the popular TV show’s previous business success stories since the first episode was broadcast in January 2005.

Dragon’s Den Deborah Meaden in the Solopress Printing blog

5. Denise Hutton-Gosney
Before establishing Razzamataz Theatre Schools in 2000, Denise Hutton-Gosney had been a professional dancer for over 10 years, performing around the world on cruise ships, pantomimes and the London Palladium. She secured a £50,000 investment from Duncan Bannatyne for 25% in her company in 2007. There are now nearly 40 Razzamataz schools across the UK, with a new one opening in Sheffield this month.

Dragon’s Den Duncan Bannatyne in Solopress printing blog

4. Guy Portelli
Sculptor Guy Portelli managed to negotiate one of the savviest deals ever by a contestant on Dragon’s Den, securing an £80,000 investment from James Caan, Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis in 2008. Guy’s Pop Icons Collection was unveiled a year later at The Mall Galleries in London. Editions of the pieces are still available to buy.

Dragon’s Den: Theo Paphitis in the Solopress Printing blog

3. Kirsty Henshaw
Duncan Bannatyne and Peter Jones offered emotional single mum Kristy Henshaw an investment of £65,000 for a 30% stake in her allergen free, nutritious food business. Since the show aired in 2010, she’s re-branded her Worthenshaws company as Kirsty’s and is selling frozen desserts and ready meals.

Dragon’s Den Peter Jones in the Solopress Printing blog

2. Hilary Devey
Hilary Devey, the award winning haulage entrepreneur and post-Dynasty queen of the shoulder pads, is leaving the Dragon’s Den this autumn after only appearing in two series. She’s departing the show to front a new business programme for Channel 4, called The Intern. “Hilary is not only an exceptional businesswoman but an unforgettable TV presenter,” says Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s chief creative officer. “I am thrilled she is joining Channel 4.”

Dragon’s Den Hilary Devey in the Solopress Printing blog

1. Levi Roots
Easily the most memorable of all the business hopefuls on Dragon’s Den, Levi Roots immediately made a great impression on the Dragons by singing his pitch to them! Before appearing on the Dragon’s Den, Levi made the spicy Reggae Reggae sauce in his kitchen in Brixton. By exchanging a 40% stake in his company for an investment of £50,000, Levi secured the support of Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh in 2007. Reggae Reggae sauce became an instant success, and the brand is now available as cooking and table sauces, crisps, pasties, pizzas, ready meals, soft drinks, wraps and more.

Levi has even been given this animated makeover by the Oscar-winning Aardman studio for his new TV advert:


  1. I love Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae sauce. A true Dragons den success story and so yummy too.

  2. Just watched the very emotional episode of Dragons Den for ‘Barenakedfoods’. Absolutely loved the young guy who cried but he really has something and a confident Peter Jones snatched up the chance to help take the business further. .. It had me completely entranced …. Brilliant .. And good luck bare naked.

  3. I had no idea Denise Hutton-Gosney had secured an investment from Duncan Bannatyne. The pessimist in me had assumed that they were all completely self made and the show was for show and cold investment alone.

  4. & don’t forget The Wand Company. They are moving with the times after the Harry Potter wand and now do a Sonic (Dr Who) Screwdriver remote. It’s a lovely website too.

  5. There was one they all went into;
    it was a case on wheels and as you pulled it along it filtered dirty water-very useful in places like africa..
    I think that this was the best invention on dragons den!
    but I never heard what happened about it.

  6. Really enjoy Dragons Den it does offer an insight into business development. But sometimes the Dragons are a bit harsh!

  7. I absolutely love this show! I had a feeling you would have Levi Roots as number one, before I even got to the bottom of the posts. I have bought many of his sauces and food items and his catchy tune is still sung in our household to this day, so it definitely caught on here lol. Some of the ideas people have are crazy, but fair play to them for wanting to go on the show lol they must have some balls. The rose petal spritzer one advertised on last weeks show was so funny!

  8. Some of the inventions on the show, are truly amazing but the the most entertaining are the more deluded inventors!

  9. I’ll never forget that guy who invented A device for cutting of power to televisions when in sleep mode.He had all the dragons foaming at the mouth!

  10. I think the Reggae Reggae sauce was my favourite, I don’t like watching the embarrassing ones where they have no idea what they’re doing! I wouldn’t go on myself ever ever ever!

  11. Gutted that Hillary Devey is leaving dragons den, but I think she good enough for a show of her own. I think it will be hard to get a brand more recognisable than Levi Roots, Reggae Reggae Sauce.

  12. I never thought I would want to own my own business, but after a decade in teaching I’ve just quit to launch my own copywriting and proof reading business: I’ve learnt that risks can be worth the rewards. So now I would go on Dragon’s Den…but I’d make sure I did my research first – fail to prepare and prepare to fail!

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