Former Hartlepool schoolboy secures £80,000 investment from fellow North-East entrepreneur after appearing on TV's Dragons' Den

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A businessman who went to school in Hartlepool is confident his flourishing garden seed business will grow even further after starring on TV’s Dragons’ Den.

Dan Robson who runs Grow Sow Simple with his brother Joe appeared on the hit BBC Show on Thursday night when he secured £80,000 from fellow North East entrepreneur Sara Davies.

Dan, 34, lived in Seaton Carew with his family in the early 2000s, attending English Martyrs School and Hartlepool College of Further Education.

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He went on Dragons’ Den to seek backers to expand the company he created in 2014 which has a mission to “get dirt under the fingernails” of every household in Britain.

Dan Robson during his pitch on the show.Dan Robson during his pitch on the show.
Dan Robson during his pitch on the show.

Retail specialist Sara, who founded the multi-million pound craft brand, Crafter’s Companion, jumped at the chance to invest £80,000 for a 20% share of the business.

Dan, 34, who now lives in Newcastle, where the business is based, said: "Entering the Den is very different to watching it at home; it was by far one of the challenging experiences of my life, but I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”

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Grow Sow Simple produce seed ranges and kits to enable anyone to grow their own vegetables, herbs and botanicals.

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Dan secured investment to expand the business.Dan secured investment to expand the business.
Dan secured investment to expand the business.

The seed for the idea took root while Dan was studying Industrial Product Design at Northumbria University in 2001.

And Dan, who still has family and friends in town, said Hartlepool College was instrumental in being where he is now.

He said: “I left English Martyrs without the best GCSEs but was very fortunate to discover the college were doing a course in 3D design.

"It was a huge starting point for me.”

The business saw significant growth during the Covid lockdown and it rolled out to 144 Asda stores last year.

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Dan told the Den he is also talking to big names including Walmart and Target.

He added: “I am delighted that Sara, whose phenomenal brand was also created off the back of her own obsession for crafting, saw potential in our company at this critical phase in our journey.”

Sara said she resonated with his commitment to access to gardening adding: "This level of passion, along with a strong concept, is critical for business success so I’m looking forward to seeing him developing and growing his fantastic brand.”

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