Sarah Willingham is a British entrepreneur, investor and personal finance expert. She was a Dragon on the thirteenth series of the BBC’s ‘Dragons’ Den’ business TV show.
Sarah spent her early years managing some of the biggest household names in high street restaurants, opening over 50 Planet Hollywood and Pizza Express restaurants worldwide. She eventually decided to go it alone. She successfully raised the finance to buy The Bombay Bicycle Club, and turned a heavily loss making business of 6 restaurants into a profitable group of 17, establishing the largest chain of Indian restaurants in the UK.
She sold the business successfully. In 2004, Sarah also co-established her own AIM listed company, Neutrahealth plc which has since acquired six businesses. She continued as plc board director of The Clapham House Group where she was responsible for Tootsies, The Real Greek and The Bombay Bicycle Club, over 50 restaurants and more than 1500 employees.
In 2008, Sarah returned to her entrepreneurial roots and set up a private equity firm in the UK where her focus remains in high street consumer facing businesses. She is also patron for “The Taste of Staffordshire” – promoting food from her home town. Sarah appeared on The Apprentice ‘You’re Fired’ and ‘You’re Hired’ as a panellist. She established herself as a presenter and business expert for the BBC, and was acknowledged by Management Today and The Times as one of the ‘35 most successful women under 35’.
Sarah was voted Business Weekly’s ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2007, one of the ‘Courvoisier Top 500’, ‘Who’s Who in British Business Leaders 2007’ and British Telecom’s Spokesperson for Small Business Growth. Former owner of the Bombay Bicycle Club Restaurant chain and responsible for Tootsies and The Real Greek, Sarah is held up as one of Britain’s leading young entrepreneurs.