After successfully winning over the dragons last Sunday, ice-cream entrepreneur Cecily Mills decided against taking up the offer she had received and accepted on air from Jenny Campbell.
Appearing in episode six of the current series of Dragons’ Den on BBC Two, Mills (pictured) pitched for an investment of £75,000 for a 20% stake in her organic, dairy-free ice cream business Coconuts Naturally, and received investment offers from two Dragons: Campbell and Tej Lalvani.
Turning down the mentorship and exposure to a phenomenal business woman like Jenny Campbell was a very difficult decision. But again, I followed my instinct and it was the right thing to do for the company
Lalvani offered £75,000 for a 40% stake in the business, but Campbell undercut him by also offering the same amount for 30%, which Mills chose to accept.
“Featuring on the show was an amazing experience,” says Mills. “Of course it was tough, but I’m extremely grateful for all I learnt. And it was a major confidence boost to see the dragons’ belief in me and my product.”
Shortly after filming, other opportunities arose outside of Dragons’ Den and Cecily chose to follow a different investment path. “Turning down the mentorship and exposure to a phenomenal business woman like Jenny Campbell was a very difficult decision. But again, I followed my instinct and it was the right thing to do for the company.”
Coconuts Naturally is now expanding its domestic and export business. It’s about to ship its first order to Hong Kong, and has also struck a deal with a major UK retailer. Meanwhile two new flavours are in development. “I’m constantly facing new challenges, but I love being kept on my toes. It’s what drives the business forward. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else,” says Mills.