Destined to be a successful entrepreneur, Deborah Meaden launched her first business straight out of college, before setting up one of the first ‘Stefanel’ fashion franchises in the UK.
A “Dragon” since series 3 of “Dragon’s Den” on the BBC, Deborah business sense emerged at age 19 when she launched a glass and ceramics import company, supplying stores including Harvey Nichols. She later took on a franchise for Italian clothing company Stefanel and a prize bingo concession at Butlins.
She later joined her family business – Weststar Holidays, and eventually became Managing Director. In 1999 she acquired the major shareholding in a management buyout, later selling the company for £33m whilst retaining a 23% stake. She sold her remaining stake in 2007 when Weststar sold for £83m. Deborah Meaden is now a full-time investor with a wide ranging portfolio including business support network Smarta, luxury ‘made in Britain’ site The Merchant Fox, woollen cloth manufacturers Fox Brothers, recipe sharing website MyDish.co.uk, online antique valuations Value My Stuff, and solar electricity business EWS Solar Power.
Deborah Meaden is an Ambassador for the WWF, Lendwithcare and the Roundhouse; a Patron for the Tusk Trust, chair of the Childline ‘Child’s Voice Appeal South West’ and is a judge at the Observer Ethical Awards. Deborah lives in Somerset with her husband, Friday the cat, three dogs, five horses, eleven chickens, four ducks and three geese.
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