Dragons’ Den success stories named among UK’s top retail ambassadors
Female entrepreneurs Ellen Green of Blue Badge Co. and Julianne Ponan of Creative Nature recognised by everywomanUK for their inspiring work in retail
Three UK female entrepreneurs, including founders behind Dragons' Den success stories, have been awarded the status of ‘everywomanUK retail ambassadors' following an official awards ceremony held in central London last night.
Ellen Green, CEO of Bristol-based Blue Badge Co – who appeared on the BBC Two show back in August 2015 and received three offers of investment, but chose to decline them – was awarded the esteemed title for having grown her brand by 50% year-on-year with turnover in excess of £500,000 and a roster of stockists such as Argos and Boots.
Blue Badge Co, which produces lifestyle products and travel aids for the disabled, was equally recognised for embracing workplace diversity; 40% of Green's workforce are disabled or primary care givers.
Also named a retail ambassador was Julianne Ponan, the CEO of Creative Nature; a free-from, superfood brand which Ponan acquired at the age of 22 and took the business from being loss-making to generating turnover of £520,000.
Ponan is also a familiar face in the Den, having recently appeared on the latest series of the show where she secured £75,000 from veteran investor Deborah Meaden.
The final entrepreneur to win everywoman retial ambassador status was Lisa Sohanpal, founder and CEO of Nom Noms World Food. Sohanpal launched the business out of a desire to provide her three young children with nutritious and healthy food using flavours from around the world.
This year, Sohanpal has achieved turnover of £7m and has also formed a partnership with the Akshaya Patra Foundation UK; serving over 40,000 meals in the last three years.
Running for its 10th year, the everywomanUK Retail Ambassador Programme seeks to celebrate women who are reinventing retail and encouraging others to advance their careers in retail.
Each year, 12 new ambassadors are named – chosen by a judging panel of female business leaders – with the aim of “inspiring talented women to want to follow in their footsteps”.
Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman, commented:
“This year’s ambassadors are true advocates for “reinventing retail”, with all judges agreeing they are an incredibly impressive example of the best of retail talent. Their success stories are exactly what the industry needs to prove how much diversity there is among ever-evolving retail job roles.”
For more Dragons' Den success stories – including the businesses that proved the Dragons wrong – click here.