Former chartered surveyor Yee Kwan attracted the funding from entrepreneur and BBC dragon Deborah Meaden in return for a 30% share of her business.
Kwan – whose ice cream and sorbet range is made in Sheffield – described the win as inspirational. “I was absolutely delighted when Deborah said she liked my ice-creams and even happier when she said she would invest in the business,” said Kwan.
‘New capital equipment’
“She is such an inspiration, the money will help us purchase new capital equipment and grow the business quicker, so we can get more of our lovely ice cream to consumers around the UK. But, more importantly, Deborah’s guidance will take us to another level. It’s a dream come true!”
The Yee Kwan range already included 20 ice creams and sorbets produced in a facility that has Safe and Approved Local Supplier Approval accreditation. The products are sold in premium food stores Harvey Nichols and Wholefoods Market and restaurants around the UK.
Meaden said Kwan’s passion for her products shone through in her pitch. “Yee is a tremendous example of how entrepreneurs with great ideas, excellent products, a sound business model and the passion and drive to succeed can quickly make a difference in business, as well as in their local communities,” she said.
“I am looking forward to helping her take these delicious ice creams to many more people across the UK and developing new product ranges using her unique flavours.”
Dragons snap up food ideas
The ice cream market is well catered for, so new entrants have to offer something really different to compete, she added. “Yee Kwan's ice cream not only tasted fantastic but was offering some really interesting Asian flavours that didn’t just sound good but tasted fantastic.
“The ice cream comes from a really authentic place and that flows right through from the brand to the flavour and you can taste the love of travel and Yee's personal family history in each delicate and exquisite taste.”
Flavours in the range included: Green tea, Lychee and rose sorbet, Black sesame seed, Lychee and Lime and lemongrass.
Double reason to celebrate
Mother of three Kwan has a double reason to celebrate, having given birth to Alexa only two weeks ago. A life-changing tour of Australasia with husband Anthony inspired her business idea. Kwan decided to set up her business after her role as a surveyor was made redundant.
Kwan said: “Sharing new food experiences and experimenting with new and exciting flavours is what I love doing best. I can’t wait to start working with Deborah.”
More information about Yee Kwan ice cream is available here.
The latest injection of dragon’s cash into a food business follows a long line of spending on novel food and drink ideas by the TV investors. Investments over recent years have exceeded £300,000 in products ranging from coffee bags to fresh curry and Chinese sauces, as the accompanying panel shows.
The TV show also launched the career of Reggae Reggae brand entrepreneur Levi Roots.