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Duncan Bannatyne

Duncan Bannatyne

This former king of the 99s made money from an ice cream van before moving on to nursing homes and health clubs.

A poverty-stricken childhood steeled Duncan's drive to make his fortune from an early age. After his naval career, which included a spell in military prison, Duncan drifted from job to job, ending up in Jersey. It was here that he made the decision to turn his life around.

He began his entrepreneurial life by trading in cars, but it was with an ice cream van purchased for £450 that he changed the course of his life. With 'Duncan's Super Ices', he set out to become the King of the 99 and eventually sold the business for £28,000, founding a nursing home business with the proceeds.

He sold his nursing home business for £46 million in 1996. In recent years he has expanded into health clubs with the Bannatyne's chain to his name; he also owns bars, hotels and property. Bannatyne's is now the largest independent chain of health clubs in the UK.

In April 2011, Duncan took on a new venture by setting up Bannatyne Digital, a digital agency aimed at small business start-ups.

His wealth as of 2011 was estimated at £430 million by the Sunday Times Rich List.

Duncan holds an OBE, and is an honorary Doctor of Science from Glasgow Caledonian University for services to business. He was also was given an honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) title from the University of Teesside.

Over 30 charities have benefited from Duncan's involvement, including Comic Relief and the Bannatyne Charitable Trust to support worthwhile causes. He is also a prominent 'No Smoking' campaigner.

Duncan recently became a Patron of PC David Rathband's Blue Lamp Foundation, a charity established by the Northumbria Police Constable David Rathband who was blinded by Raoul Moat.

A Dragon in the Den since the first series, Duncan has invested millions of pounds since the series began.


Name: Duncan Bannatyne.

Born: February 1949.

Family: 6 children, 2 grandchildren.

Describe yourself Motivated, ambitious, driven, relaxed and happy.

Estimated wealth: £460million.

Vehicles owned: Maserati Turismo, Chrysler Grand Voyager, Mercedes-Benz GL Class.

Property owned: In the North East of England, London and France.

Most outrageous purchase: Being a careful Scottish man, I never make outrageous purchases.

One thing I always spend extra on: Holidays.

The one thing I look for in employees: Initiative and loyalty.

Best job I've had: This is it.

Worst job I've had: Agricultural vehicle engineer and welder on a farm.

Favourite holiday destination: Barbados and my villa in France.

Favourite sport, team and player: I find life too short to be a sport spectator.

Favourite pitch: Peter Moule's Choc Box.

Best investment: Choc Box.

The one that got away: Many people say the one that got away, but when I have done my investigations through Companies House, in fact none of them got away.

Things that interest me: My family, and my businesses, the children I accommodate in Romania and good food.

I'd never invest in: Anything to do with cigarettes; I would rather swim in shark infested water with one arm hanging off.

Duncan's business advice

For impressing in an interview / pitch

Be concise and do not spend 4 minutes presenting a presentation if you can do it in 1 minute.

For running your own business

Stay focused and work hard.

For surviving the recession

Do not spend a penny unless absolutely necessary. Focus on cash flow rather than profit.

For getting your product to market

Use whatever PR sources are available to you.

For winning investment

Present yourself to as many investors as you can. If you are turned down, ask why - then use the advice when preparing your next pitch.

For making millions

Read my autobiography: 'Anyone Can Do It'.

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