The incredible Duncan Bannatyne, or Dragon Duncan, is widely known from BBC’s 2 Dragons Den, the latest reality show to hit our screens, a show that is getting much recognition and being touted as the BBC’s X factor for entrepreneurs - and it certainly is!! Members of the general public and those would be entrepreneurs out there present their ideas to Duncan and he decides whether or not they get his business know how, but more importantly, the investment!
The show is already getting a huge amount of attention and there is much excitement as it is going to be a sure winner with that perfect formula following in the same vein as The Apprentice (Donald trump) and the Pop Idols, X Factor etc. and there are occasions when Duncan can be a little Simon Cowell’esque in his approach too!!
It was Duncan’s tremendous entrepreneurial instincts, commercial nous and his business success that helped him land the role in this new show and he has proved that rags to riches does exist and he is a completely self-made man in the truest sense of the word.
He grew up in Clydebank and left the Navy at 19 after a disagreement with a commanding officer and lived in Jersey where he gained a reputation as a bit of a party animal. It was when sitting on the beach one morning, with nothing to his name, that he boldly told his then girlfriend they were moving back to mainland Britain to become millionaires. Never have truer words been spoken !! He moved to Stockton-On-Tees with his now ex-wife Gail and bought an ice-cream van for £450 and, at the age of 31, had his own business. Duncan's Super Ices expanded to four vans and a turnover of £300,000. He sold up and moved on to Quality Care Nursing Homes and setup Just Learning children's day-care centres.
He then suffered a serious leg injury which took him into a gym for the first time and subsequently he set up Bannatyne’s Fitness Ltd a health centre chain which has a reported annual turnover of £30million, more than 30 health clubs and he now plans to build a UK casino empire. I wonder if he thought back on that beach in Jersey that he would have achieved all of the above and amassed an estimated personal wealth of over £130 Million.
Duncan still maintains his business interests and keeps a close eye on things, but if that wasn’t enough, this amazing man with the Midas touch has turned his attentions to the entertainment world - and guess what? that which has always been a dream of his is fast becoming a reality. Dragons Den is the first of two projects which we will see Duncan involved in, as well as a small part in The Layer Cake, Guy Ritchie’s latest gangster flick, where he was able to put to use his skills learnt during his training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and at the New York Film Academy.
When he is not acting, presenting or running one of the country’s most profitable and largest independently owned businesses Duncan likes to spend his time with his family, or pursuing his hobbies and sports such as running, climbing, water skiing and scuba diving. He also likes to spend his time working with charitable organisations such as UNICEF and Scottish International Relief and he established the Bannatyne Hospice for Children with HIV and AIDS in Romania. Who knows what the future holds for this amazing individual, whether in business or on both the small and large screens. But whatever happens, one thing is for sure - this space is one to watch..!
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