Deborah Meaden holds the title of the longest-serving Dragon in the Den after Peter Jones, having joined in Series 3. Not only does Deborah boast a successful business leadership career and authorship, but she is also renowned for her dedication to environmental causes.
Deborah advocates for ethical and fair practices in both business and life, firmly believing that safeguarding the environment and wildlife is crucial for our future security and well-being. She actively supports a curated selection of environmental charities, holding roles such as a fellow of the WWF, a trustee of Tusk Trust, an ambassador for the Marine Conservation Society, World Horse Welfare, and the RSPB, among others. Additionally, she serves as a Visionary for Compassion in World Farming (CIWF).
Deborah takes the helm as the host of the popular podcast, The Big Green Money Show. Alongside co-host Felicity Hannah, she delves into the impact of businesses, big and small, on the planet, emphasizing how sustainability can be an opportunity rather than a perceived inconvenience.
In 2023, Deborah achieved further success with the publication of her children’s book, ‘Why Money Matters,’ an accessible guide to the world of money for 6 to 9-year-olds, which swiftly became a bestseller.
Deborah has pledged to invest over £5.5 million in the Den, with notable investments in companies such as Dock and Bay (S15), Marxman (S14), Solar Buddies (S20), Get Fussy (S19), The Little Loop (S19), Hope and Ivy (S14), and Rehook (S17).
In a Q&A session, Deborah expressed her keen interest in green and sustainable businesses, hoping to see more entrepreneurs prioritize these objectives in the current series. She acknowledges the evolution of Dragons’ Den over the years, highlighting its reflection of a more relaxed business style, a shift towards IT and web-based businesses, and increased attention to sustainability.
You are very interested in green and sustainable businesses, are you hoping to see more entrepreneurs who make those objectives their top priority, in this series?
Absolutely, a dream business for me is one with a great solution to help people and planet, headed up by a great team…but I am also interested in businesses at the start of their sustainable journey…I just need to believe they want to improve their impact.
How do you think the show has changed and adapted throughout the years?
People might think Dragons’ Den hasn’t changed but it has and in quite significant ways…which is right because business is people and the way we live and work changes. I definitely think it reflects the more relaxed business style….we see more laughter and chat between the Dragons, obviously a big shift towards IT and web-based businesses and of course social media has changed the way we all tell our stories. And the big plus for me, everyone tackles their position on sustainability.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs in the current economic climate?
Make sure you are clear on what value you offer. That doesn’t always mean the cheapest, it might mean the longest lasting, better quality, it might meant fairtrade or organic….tell your story to your audience so they understand why you.
What can the viewers look forward to in this series of Dragons’ Den?
Fun, fight, fantastic business and some not so!! Brilliant and brave entrepreneurs, lots of investments, support and advice and a few “never seen before “ moments, and of course the entrance of some smart, savvy Guest Dragons…frankly, a series not to be missed!!
What kind of business are you looking for in the Den?
Impact businesses that really have a reason to be, and which make things better; disruptive businesses with vision; and then of course the heart and head investments, when you just want to help good people make their businesses the best they can.
Why do you think people still enjoy the show?
Dragons’ Den is full of the ups and downs, humanity, inspiration and down-right craziness of life. It peels back the lid on business in all its creative glory, inspires people to start their own businesses and showcases people who have taken the plunge. It is totally intergenerational and everyone in the family has an opinion. I can hear them “ ooh….she won’t like that…or, this is one for Deborah!!”
Are there any general trends in the type of business that are pitched to you?
I definitely get pitched to when it comes to green business. Not surprisingly because I have been on about it for a very long time.
Dragons are known for being strong and fierce, do you think strength is the most important trait for a business person?
Business can be tough and every single one I have been involved in have had difficult moments and I think resilience and the ability to push through is very important. I also believe you have to keep yourself business-fit, that means giving it your all when you have to but also being able to re-charge and give yourself time when you can…no one can stay in peak performance all the time, ask an athlete!!