Published On: Thu, Jan 19th, 2023

Dragons’ Den cast ‘impressed’ as entrepreneur tackles ‘tough time’ in £80,000 pitch | Personal Finance | Finance

Appearing on last night’s show, Dan Robson, a Northumberland-based business owner, had one shot to stand out with the Dragons. He pitched his Grow Sow Simple business, offering Britons a variety of opportunities to grow and eat their own fresh herbs and vegetables.

Describing the company as gardening “made more accessible”, Mr Robson aid he was seizing innovative technologies in gardening for a wide audience.

The entrepreneur was asking for £80,000 for a 10 percent stake in the business. 

Peter Jones stated the business was “very impressive”, adding he had “never seen anything quite like this”.

Mr Robson was then able to show the company’s turnover had grown substantially, from £77,000 in 2019, with a net loss of £168,000, to £335,000 turnover in 2022 with £50,000 net profit.

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But Mr Robson was keen to prove this was not the case, stating his product could be helpful for those with small gardening space, and for a younger audience.

Meanwhile, Touker Suleyman was keen to unpack the deal the company had struck with ASDA, rolling out to over 100 stores, as an order of £165,000 in early 2022. 

The fashion boss, alongside Peter Jones, was confused as to why further orders hadn’t been put in. 

He added: “50 percent of your turnover this year was ASDA. If ASDA don’t come back, you’ve lost 50 percent! There’s a risk.”

Mr Jones was concerned Mr Robson hadn’t asked for feedback on his product, to which the owner responded that he needed a Dragon to help.

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A surprised Mr Jones said: “A dragon can’t teach you common sense. It’s a really good question. What’s your rate of sale? You’ve got to be all over it.”

Mr Robson explained he had a two year exclusivity deal with ASDA, news which concerned both Mr Suleyman and Mr Jones.

Both Dragons then said they were out, as they were uncertain about his business acumen and whether the company could grow. 

Mr Bartlett also withdrew from investing, although he added his belief Mr Robson was “really impressive, and very thoughtful”.

Deborah Meaden explained she thought the business was an interesting one, but believed it had limitations and also said she was out. 

That left remaining Dragon, Ms Davies as the only one on the panel left to convince.

She said: “It’s a tough time in the Den, isn’t it? But you’re fairing really well. You’ve got a great business which I think a lot of the Dragons haven’t really understood, but I can see exactly what you’re doing.

“It’s making gardening accessible. I’m familiar with the space. The only thing I don’t really like is the valuation, but I can change that.”

Ms Davies offered the full £80,000 for 20 percent of the business, to which Mr Robson said he would like to negotiate.

The amused entrepreneur responded: “I’m holding all the aces and you’ve got none – good luck with negotiating!”

A smiling Mr Robson then accepted the offer, leaving the Den with a solid deal. 

He added: “In all honesty, after the first Dragon said they were out, I did start to panic.

“But I could see a bit of a glint in Sara’s eyes. She knows the market, she knows the product. I’m really excited to see what  she’ll bring to the business.”

Dragons’ Den returns Thursdays at 8pm on BBC One. 

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