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Duncan Bannatyne is one of the UK’s most successful ‘serial’ entrepreneurs and respected Dragon.
Business Speaker / Presenter & Host
Duncan was born in 1949 in Clydebank, Scotland. His business interests include; Health Clubs, Hotel, Media, TV, Stage Schools, Property and Transport but is probably best-known for his appearances on BBC’s Dragon’s Den.
He’s written five books; Anyone Can Do It which sold more than 200,000 copies; Wake Up & Change Your Life quickly entered the Sunday Telegraph top selling book list as did How to Be Smart With Your Money. Duncan’s fourth book How to Be Smart With Your Time provided practical advice on making the best use of this most valuable asset and his most recent book 43 Mistakes Businesses Make explains how to avoid costly mistakes that can waste time, cause embarrassment or even endanger the future of a business.
Duncan was raised in relatively modest circumstances and was told by his mother that she couldn’t afford to buy him a bicycle, so he asked the local newsagents if he could start a paper round. He was told that he would need a list of 100 potential customers & with this in mind he painstakingly knocked on many doors and eventually drew up a list of 100 names and addresses. He got the job, bought the bike and hasn’t looked back since!
In 1964 at the age of 15 he volunteered for 12 years with the Royal Navy as a Junior 2nd Class engineering mechanic stoker at RNTE Shotley near Ipswich. He served in the Navy for several years before receiving a dishonourable discharge for threatening to throw an officer off a boat landing jetty in Scotland.
In his 20s, Duncan moved to Jersey where he met his first wife and then to Stockton-on-Tees. It was there that his business career began with an ice cream van bought for £450 and soon expanded by buying more vans and eventually sold the business for £28k, founding a care home business instead. Quality Care Homes was sold for £26m in 1996 and another business, children’s nursery chain Just Learning for £22m.
Duncan has since branched into Health Clubs with the popular Bannatyne’s Health Clubs chain as well as bars, hotels and property. He acquired 26 Health Clubs from Hilton Hotels back in August 2006 which subsequently made him the largest independent chain of Health Clubs in the UK.
In October 2008 and in defiance of the credit crunch Duncan opened the £12m Bannatyne Spa Hotel in Hastings and also revamped the spa chain.
Duncan Bannatyne was honoured with the Order of the British Empire for his contribution to charity and his support of many good causes, especially for children. Duncan is also heavily involved with Comic Relief and UNICEF and is a passionate anti-smoking campaigner.
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