Tuesday 16 October 2018

The newest entrepreneurs to enter Dragon's Den have been announced

Alison Cowzer of the East Coast Bakehouse.
Alison Cowzer of the East Coast Bakehouse.
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

Meet the two new Dragons who are set to enter the Den this year. Entrepreneurs Alison Cowzer and Eleanor McEvoy will be slipping into the hot seats on the new series of the hit RTE One show, the Herald can reveal.

They will join Gavin Duffy, Barry O'Sullivan and Eamonn Quinn on the popular programme, which will return after a two-year break.

Hailing from a marketing background before branching out into the beauty and food industry, Alison is a co-founder of the East Coast Bakehouse, which she set up with husband Michael Carey.

Located just outside Drogheda and set to become the biggest biscuit-making facility in Ireland and the UK, the production factory alone was a €15m investment.

Alison said it was "great to be part of the new line-up", with the show hitting our TV screens on April 17.

The other new addition is Limerick woman Eleanor McEvoy of electricity com- pany Budget Energy Northern Ireland, which had a turnover of €30m last year and employs 50 staff at its offices in Derry.

A serial entrepreneur, she plans to launch her company into the Republic this year.

She has described the operation as the Ryanair of the energy sector but "without the bad manners".

Eleanor and Alison have replaced multi-millionaire Ramona Nicholas - after she had baby Sarah May last month - and Peter Casey, who has also moved on.

Presenting the show again will be INM business journalist Richard Curran as he quizzes would-be entrepreneurs on their weird and wonderful business ideas.

The show, which is made by ShinAwil Productions, first aired in Ireland in 2009 and since then the Dragons have heard 360 pitches and poured more than €4m into over 80 businesses.

RTE commissioning editor Ray McCarthy said that as well as being quality entertainment, the show gave invaluable support to Irish entrepreneurs who have been key to the country's economic recovery.

"RTE is committed to supporting emerging business ideas," he said.

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