BBC Dragons' Den entrepreneur who turned down investment calls for change to series: ‘A way to move forward’

BBC Dragons' Den entrepreneur who turned down investment calls for change to series: ‘A way to move forward’

Dragons' Den star Julianne Ponan was told she should "die" after episode aired

Lauren Williams

By Lauren Williams

Published: 13/04/2024

- 19:23

The former Dragons‘ Den star turned down a major investment from Deborah Meaden

Dragons’ Den star Julianne Ponan is the founder of Creative Nature Superfoods and starred on the BBC business show back in 2017.

When she first entered the Den, Ponan asked for a £75,000 investment in exchange for five per cent of the business, to help scale up.

During the pitch, Meaden initially offered the £75,000 investment but for 25 per cent of the company – something that Ponan was reluctant to agree on.

However, after some negotiations, the pair finally shook hands after Meaden explained that she would sell back five per cent of the business once they made a sizeable profit.

After leaving the Den and discussing the deal with her business partner, Ponan later decided that she no longer wanted the investment from Meaden and pulled out of the deal.

Since Ponan’s appearance on the show, many other businesses and budding entrepreneurs have followed in her footsteps and gone on to decline major investments from the Dragon’s but still make a success of their business.

Julianne Ponan

Julianne secured and investment from Deborah Meaden but later turned it down


Ponan recently spoke to GB News and was asked whether she thought that the programme was a good platform for entrepreneurs or whether it was time for the show to retire.

She explained: “I think that it is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs to go on and get feedback on their product, get in front of investors and get feedback from that side.

“But also the platform it gives you in terms of marketing is fantastic, it enables people to see you – our website was crashing after it – which was great to see.

“But I do believe that the show itself needs to attract entrepreneurs of a certain stage because for the deals to get done, the valuation needs to be right and that way if the valuation is right the Dragon fits and it will all work like a puzzle.

Julianne Ponan

Julianne has grown her business after claiming the show needed to be changed


“But at the moment I don’t know whether some of the entrepreneurs that go on, some are much further in their journey, some are a start-up.

“So vetting that maybe and changing which entrepreneurs go on may be a great way to move forward.”

When asked how Meaden reacted when Ponan explained that she wanted to pull out of the investment, she noted that she was “really lovely”.

“Oh they were really lovely, the team were amazing and said they completely understood and loved the brand still which was really nice to hear.

Julianne Ponan

Julianne called for changes to be made to the BBC series


“She thought I was a good entrepreneur and nice to get that recognition as well so I think that was great. I think it was more that came afterwards when it aired, that was what I didn’t expect.”

Despite turning down the investment, Ponan has gone on to successfully launch her company, with her products now being sold in supermarkets across the country.

In 2020, she was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30s and went on to be awarded with an MBE for her service to business, exports, and people with allergies.

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