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Football boss Steve Parish joins investors on Dragons’ Den

After Sarah Willingham and Nick Jenkins announced they were leaving Dragons’ Den in January, the BBC has unveiled Steve Parish and Jenny Campbell as the 16th and 17th investors to appear on the show.
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Joining existing Dragons Touker Salesman, Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones, Steve Parish brings with him a background in first marketing and communications and then football – where is is currently the chairman of Premier League club Crystal Palace.

Meanwhile, Jenny Campbell is the founder and CEO of YourCash Europe, a company supplying cash machines to the retail market.

Since long-standing investor James Caan left Dragons’ Den after the 8th series in 2010, BBC bosses have struggled to achieve continuity on the show. Hilary Devey, Kelly Hoppen, Piers Linney, Willingham and Jenkins have all come and gone – while Duncan Bannatyne called it quits after 12 series in 2015.

The BBC believes Parish and Campbell will add “firepower” to Dragons’ Den, alongside commercial knowledge and other skills.

Patrick Holland, channel controller at BBC Two, said: “With their extensive business experience, Steve and Jenny, alongside Peter, Deborah and Touker make for a formidable line up to turn up the heat on prospective entrepreneurs brave enough to enter the Den.”

Parish started his business career straight out of school at 18 when he joined advertising and computer graphics company Adplates. Having started up a company called Turning Point Technologies while there, he bought Adplates in 1998 and proceeded to turn it into a business turning over more than £4m and emptying 50 staff.

After selling up in 2011 for £150m he then bought the football team he’d supported since a child, Crystal Palace, and took up the position of executive chairman. Under his tenure, Crystal Palace has emerged out of administration and made it into the Premier League and appeared in the 2016 FA Cup Final.

On joining the long-standing BBC show, Parish said: “I’m thrilled to become a Dragon and really excited to meet the entrepreneurs in this series, see what ideas they bring to the Den and how I might be able to help them grow.”

Check out our Facebook Live interview with Steve Parish back in 2016

Jenny Campbell

New investor Jenny Campbell

Campbell’s career began even earlier, at 16, when she began counting cash at a bank branch. Upon leaving the corporate world in 2006 she launched a restructure of Hanco ATM Systems and led it to profitability. Despite being asked to lead the sale of the company, she instead led a buyout and grew it further before ultimately selling the rebranded YourCash Europe in 2016 for £50m.

“As a fan of Dragons’ Den I’m very excited to be taking my seat in the line-up and bringing my own unique style to the Den,” she added. “I’m looking forward to using my extensive business skills to spot the next generation of entrepreneurs and help them realise their business dreams.”

Every investor to appear on Dragons’ Den – in order of first appearance:
  • Peter Jones
  • Rachel Elnaugh
  • Simon Woodroffe
  • Doug Richard
  • Duncan Bannatyne
  • Theo Paphitis
  • Deborah Meaden
  • Richard Farleigh
  • James Caan
  • Hilary Devey
  • Piers Linney
  • Kelly Hoppen
  • Touker Suleyman
  • Sarah Willingham
  • Nick Jenkins
  • Jenny Campbell
  • Steve Parish

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About Author

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Real Business. He is also the editor of Business Advice, a title focused solely on a section of the business community currently underserved – micro companies. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative.

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