Dragons’ Den winner hails massive boost to his business

Winner Dan Baker, dressed as a panto dame, flanked by the four Bassetlaw dragons, from left, Coun Jo White, of Bassetlaw District Council, Steve Bennett, of Traffic Labour Supplies Ltd, Nicola Marshall, of Jellybean Campervans, and Ade Okubanjo, of ManKing Associates accountants. (PHOTO BY: Di Fisher)
Winner Dan Baker, dressed as a panto dame, flanked by the four Bassetlaw dragons, from left, Coun Jo White, of Bassetlaw District Council, Steve Bennett, of Traffic Labour Supplies Ltd, Nicola Marshall, of Jellybean Campervans, and Ade Okubanjo, of ManKing Associates accountants. (PHOTO BY: Di Fisher)

The winner of the first Dragons’ Den-type event in Bassetlaw has hailed his success as a massive fillip for his business.

Dan Baker, of the Retford-based costume design company DannyB Designs, landed the £5,000 prize after impressing the dragons with a thigh-slapping pitch dressed as a pantomime dame.

And after securing the investment, he said: “It will give me such a boost. I’ve got about £12,000 worth of orders lined up for this year, so this money will help me expand by upgrading my equipment, diversify into other areas and get some financial and business mentoring. But it’s not just about the cash element. I met some great people who gave me brilliant advice and have put me in touch with new contacts.”

The event, based on the hit TV show, was organised by Bassetlaw District Council, who hired local business leaders and a councillor to act as the dragons. Added Dan: “It was an amazing experience. Although I am an actor, I was very nervous pitching to the dragons. Events like this show that Bassetlaw is a great place to own a small business, and people genuinely want you to succeed.”

Dan specialises in costumes for children’s theatre and panto, and some have appeared in London’s West End.

DANNYB Designs was up against fierce competition in the final of the Dragons’ Den competition, with the runners-up prize of £2,500 going to the software company eReprice, owned by Luke Billyard and also based in Retford.

But one of the dragons, Coun Jo White, of Bassetlaw District Council, explained why Dan got the nod. “We were all extremely impressed by his pitch, which was really creative and memorable,” she said. “It had the wow factor, while his expert knowledge of his product, market and figures really stacked up. We look forward to seeing how Dan’s business grows and how much of a success he will be.”