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Dragons Den, the BBC Two show will be joined by a new dragon.

Dragons Den, the BBC Two show will be joined by a new dragon.

Entrepreneur and award-winning businesswoman, Hilary Devey is to join the next series when it returns to our TV screens later this year.

An experienced businesswoman with a proven track record, Hilary brings with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise needed to scrutinise fledgling entrepreneurs when they enter the Den.

Devey replaces entrepreneur, James Caan, who announce in January he would leave the show to focus on his philanthropic work with the James Caan Foundation.

Devey joins the other formidable dragons, Peter Jones, Theo Paphitis, Duncan Bannatyne and Deborah Meaden, who are all returning for the new series.

They will support, or reject budding hopeful entrepreneurs who will stand before them pitching their ideas.

Devey launched her own business Pall-Ex in 1996, which helped to revolutionise the pallet distribution industry in the UK and whose business model has now become standard across the industry.

Unable to secure backing, Devey sold her car and home to fund her company, which she has built up into a successful multi-million pound European business empire.

Commenting on her new role, Devey said: "At a time when the banks are failing to invest in British small businesses, I am proud to be able to do my part to support the next generation of UK entrepreneurs.

"In order to set-up Pall-Ex in the mid-Nineties, I had to sell my house and car to get the start-up capital necessary to fulfil my business ambitions, as none of the banks appreciated my potential. I would have loved the opportunity to have stood before the Dragons, and I will remember my own experiences and the realities of running a business today, when choosing to support – or reject – the budding entrepreneurs joining me in the Den."

More than three million people tuned in to watch each episode of the last series of Dragons Den, which has been commissioned for three more series.

The dragons have been making peoples’ dreams come true – and shattering others’ – since it first aired in 2005.

Across the eight series which have aired so far there have been some inspired investments and some jaw-dropping moments.

Highlights include: the first entrepreneur to enter the Den was Graham Whitby, with his Baby Dream Machine – a machine that rocks the pram or crib that a baby sleeps in. Graham walked away without investment.

James Seddon shook hands on a deal in the Den despite the fact that he could not successfully demonstrate his water-free egg cooker.

Singing proved a hit in series four as Levi Roots was pitch perfect when he serenaded the Dragons and earned investment for his home-made Reggae Reggae Sauce. Levi's business is now a multi-million pound food empire which includes best-selling cookery books.

In series six, one of the entrepreneurs not to gain investment was Natalie Ellis for her non-spill dog bowl. Since then she has proved the Dragons wrong. They predicted she wouldn't be able to crack the American market but she has – one happy customer happens to be President Obama.

Last year, food was once again on the menu in the Den as Kirsty Henshaw wowed the Dragons with her dairy free ice-cream products. This year she predicts she will hit a million pounds worth of sales.

Entrepreneurs with a fantastic business idea or product that is investment-ready can apply for a chance to make their mark in the Den by visiting bbc.co.uk/dragonsden.

Picture: BBC/Rolf Marriott


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