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What have Roots & Harsley got in common?

Dragons’ Den investment that made their businesses soar. Reggae Reggae BBQ sauce has made Roots £30M while Harsley’s Rapstrap, an alternative to cable ties, landed him a three-year contract worth £36M. Now it’s your turn.

It’s clear that many good businesses could be exceptional if only the funds to expand or change direction were available now. And that’s why Nordens has created The Business Factor. It will be similar to Dragons’ Den, but is exclusively for the benefit of our clients. Next month we’ll be inviting all of you to take advantage of an extraordinary opportunity to gain investment for your company. We have brought together a panel of successful entrepreneurs who are ready to invest in up to ten businesses that make the best pitch for their funds. As it won’t be feasible for everyone to make a face-to-face pitch, we’ll need to build a shortlist. If you’d like to be “in”, please complete the online questionnaire that will be with you shortly. Your next Christmas could be very merry indeed. Here’s how it worked for Roots and Harsley…

Levi Roots:

In 2007 he became one of the biggest success stories of the Den to date, and is now a household name with his popular hot BBQ sauces that tell you to “put some music in your food”.

Having serenaded the Dragons in his pitch with a song Roots (real name Keith Graham), won investment from Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh on a “punt” and was told by that there was “no future for his business”.

Reggae Reggae sauces are now stocked in all the major UK supermarkets and Roots has expanded his range to cover chilled ready meals, pasties and even Caribbean-flavoured soft drinks – taking his worth to an estimated £30m according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

And it’s not just food, the British-Jamaican entrepreneur has put his name to a series of cookbooks, music albums, his own Caribbean-inspired food festival, had a BBC TV cooking show and plans to launch a chain of global restaurants.

While Farleigh is no longer involved in the business – Jones bought out Farleigh for little more than he invested – Jones remains a shareholder and advocate for the brand; “it’s one of my most successful investments from the show”.

Andrew Harsley:

Inventor Harsley spent 20 years perfecting a tiny plastic strap, the Rapstrap, a reusable polyurethane band that can tie up bin bags, cables, plants and saplings. He pitched his idea to the dragons in 2008 and secured a £150,000 investment from Duncan Bannatyne and James Caan for half the company. Within weeks of the investment, one of the world’s leading plastics distributors has ordered 1bn of the plastic straps, which have been billed as the ‘next generation cable tie’. The deal was worth £36M over a three-year period.

Caan said that the Rapstrap had the potential to be as successful as ‘Cat’s Eyes’.

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In November 2002, having sold our other business interests off earlier in the year, I decided to set up Nordens Chartered Accountants. The easy part was knowing how to do it, as I had established and built a smaller practice a few years earlier, the difficult part was not following the traditional accountancy path. Having run businesses, both successfully and unsuccessfully, I wanted to help business owners resolve their short term problems and work with them to achieve their longer term goals. Business has always been my interest and I love that I can help business owners achieve what seems like the impossible every single working day.

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