Dragons’ Den star Sara Davies inspires audience at Sutton Coldfield BID seminar

Home News & Events News Dragons’ Den star Sara Davies inspires audience at Sutton Coldfield BID seminar

Dragons Den star Sara Davies marked International Women’s Day by giving an inspirational talk to business leaders in Sutton Coldfield.

The entrepreneur was speaking at a packed seminar organised and funded by Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield BID, held on Friday 8th March at BMet’s Sutton Coldfield College campus.

Before the seminar, which was called ‘Let’s Talk Business’, invited guests and BID members mingled and networked, while enjoying a buffet by Pollers Café and Sandwich Bar.

After being welcomed to the stage by chair Mark Wilkinson, Sara took part in an informal interview with the BID’s Alison Clack – with the former Strictly Come Dancing favourite offering business advice, insights from her own career and plenty of laughs.

Sara told the enthusiastic audience how she grew up in an entrepreneurial family, and had launched her own business while still at university, after spending a year-long work placement at a struggling company that made and sold craft products.

She said: “I remember starting my business and running it from my university bedroom, and by the time I graduated the next summer this little business I had started was turning over more than half a million quid, which was bigger than my mam and dad’s shop, which they had started 25 years earlier.”

She said she had been underestimated throughout her career, something she considered a superpower.

“I was a woman, I was young and I had an accent, so obviously I wasn’t half as intelligent as the other people in the room,” she joked.

“But I would think ‘I know that I’m better then you at business’ – because I had self-belief.”

She gave insights into life as a ‘dragon’ on the popular BBC TV show, and the working relationship she looked for when choosing investments.

“If you have got a mindset to succeed you will succeed,” she said.

Asked what her favourite investment in the Den was, she quipped: “You wouldn’t ask me which weas my favourite kid, would you?”

Sara told the audience that mentors were ‘priceless’ and said there were two kinds – those who know they are mentoring you, and those who have no idea they are.

She said, “I’m lucky enough to be mentored by two other dragons. One of them is my uncle Touker – and I call him that because when I do I see his chest pump out a little bit with pride!

“When I first joined the Den, he did my screen test and practice run. So, I had a little word with him and said ‘I’m really nervous. I’ve done investing before, I’ve done TV before, but I’ve never done the two together– so would you mentor me?’

“The important thing is to explain to people what you mean by mentoring. I asked him to honestly tell me how I had done with pitches in the Den, to give me feedback and he really took it to heart.

“But I gave him the permission to give me the feedback and in honesty I think I’m a great dragon, partly because he’s mentored me to become a great dragon.

“I’ve also been mentored by Duncan Bannatyne – except I’ve never met him. I’ve bought his book.

“I remember reading it and thinking he’s not the brain of Britain and he’s not grown up with a silver spoon in his mouth, yet he’s got this unbelievable grit, and drive and determination.

“Every time something didn’t work, he just picked himself up, dusted himself off and got on with the next thing. That was inspirational.”

And she advised entrepreneurs to ensure the team around them would help them get over inevitable hurdles.

She said: “I believe that everything in life is down to mindset, and I can get myself through anything if I’m in the right positive mindset. Being positive is a choice I make.

“But I also have to surround myself with other people who are like me, who can help fill up my tank.”

At the end of the seminar, which was sponsored by SAV Group and BPG,, the new owners of Sutton Coldfield’s Gracechurch Shopping Centre, students from BMet presented Sara with flowers.

BID manager Michelle Baker said: “Sara’s talk was hugely warm and entertaining, while also being genuinely insightful and inspirational from a business point of view.

“She was the perfect person to hear from as we marked International Women’s Day, and I know the feedback from people who attended was that her enthusiasm and positivity came across to the audience.”