Sarah Willingham: Former Dragon on investing and letting her kids control the holiday budget
Play • 35 min

Sarah Willingham originally planned a career in finance before making her fortune in food. Growing up in Stoke, the entrepreneur and former Dragon on the BBC's Dragons’ Den started her first paper round at the age of 11, then took her first steps in the restaurant trade aged just 13. From there she went on to work for Pizza Express and Planet Hollywood, and then turned Indian restaurant chain Bombay Bicycle Club into a multi-million-pound business. She also, along with her husband, built and then floated the nutraceutical company NutraHealth on the London Stock Exchange.


After starting a family, she then totally changed the way she worked, pulling back from managing her businesses day-to-day so she could achieve a better work-life balance and spend more time with her four children.

Sarah tells Gabby about who gave her confidence early in her career, how she vowed to take a break from media commitments just hours before being offered a role on Dragons’ Den, and why she and her husband let their children control the daily budget on their family gap year.


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The ii Family Money Show is brought to you by interactive investor (ii).


This episode was recorded in February 2022 and is also available as a vodcast on the interactive investor YouTube channel.


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This material is intended for educational purposes only and is not investment research or a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy. The value of your investments can rise as well as fall, and you could get back less than you invested. SIPPs are aimed at people happy to make their own investment decisions. You can normally only access the money from age 55 (57 from 2028). The investments referred to may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser. Pension and tax rules depend on your circumstances and may change in future. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. Interactive Investor Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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