Deborah Meaden is the second longest-serving Dragon in the Den, joining the show’s second series in 2006.
Born in Taunton, Somerset, Meaden too had an entrepreneurial mindset as a youngster. She left school at 16 to study at Brighton Technical College. After graduating at 19 she moved to Italy where she started a glass and ceramics import company for upmarket retailers such as Harvey Nichols. The goods started appearing in other stores and, without the capital to fight it, she has to walk away – even though she has sole agency rights. She headed a number of retail and leisure businesses when she returned to the UK.
She worked her way from shop floor to operations director at the family amusement company then shifted over to the holiday park side of the business. Within two years she was promoted to managing director and did a management buyout to acquire the company, selling it off a few years later.
As well as Dragons’ Den, Meaden appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2016 and the Great Stand Up to Cancer Bake Off in 2023. Meaden’s been co-presenter of BBC Radio 5 Live’s The Big Green Money Show since 2022. On top of that, she is an ambassador for the Marine Conservation Society and a member for the council of ambassadors for the World Wildlife Fund.
Business investments in the Den include: Yee Kwan ice cream, Boot Buddy, Hope and Ivy, Fussy.