Alternatives to Dragons Den

I have been speaking to various people who have been lucky enough to get on Dragons Den and the coverage and uplift for the brand has been amazing. But either they have not received an offer of funding OR the % equity requested has been so high that it is not necessarily the best move for the business. So what alternatives are there – have a look at the list below of the 5 top ones around at the moment


  1. The Hatchery

I have personally put three clients in touch with The Black Farmer, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones

His approach is very no nonsense – says what he things but also very insightful. They are looking for early start ups who are still in the ideas stage.

There should be funds available plus mentoring from The Black Farmer and his team who are a formidable lot!

  1. Grocery Accelerator

I have had some experience with working with Rob and Paddy and the team here and their boardroom sessions are powerful!

They have a strong offer enabling food companies to grow through securing investment but you do need to invest in their programme first to get your company investor ready. They have some awesome skilled people on the team – and also access to VYPR which enables SMEs to research their brands and create strong selling stories by knowing their consumers better.


  1. Big brands looking for little disruptors

Here we have thre big boys looking for inspiration and speed and flexibility of the little boys.

– PepsiCo are looking for upto 10 foodie start ups (less than £5m turnover) who can offer amazing nutritional products to the pan European space. This year’s program deadline is June 11 2018 but am sure they will run annually

There is a grant on offer of €20,000, usual mentoring but from the might of Pepsico expertise (great for thinking like a big brand) and the winner gets €100,000

– Kraft Heinz

As with Pepsico, you get access to the company’s wealth of expertise and knowledge plus investment and mentoring on how to get additional funding and support

– Diageo

Ditto with Diageo although they are looking for alcoholic and non alcoholic brands


  1. VBites Ventures

Heather Mills (famous for being previously married to Paul McCartney) has founded Vbites and just bought a factory up in the north east to produce snacks.

She is looking for SMES who produce plant-based products and meat alternatives and will provide investment, scale and manufacturing support from the new factory and her expertise and mentoring


  1. Square One Foods

This is a more classic accelerator program run by the guys at Spitz who are an Austrian food producer. Looking for broad breadth of innovative food and drink SMEs, they offer seed capital in return for 15-25% of the company. They also give access to their partnerships with retailers, manufacturing resources (as required) etc etc

And finally if you are interested in getting a grant – there are not many of those around! – try applying for the Small Business grant. They offer £5000 per month to businesses with turnover of over £50k. Ollies olives won in April so worth taking a look!


I hope you have found this overview useful and let me know of any other schemes you are aware of to help us all build a recipe for success.


Leave a Reply 0 comments