Ice cream maker scoops Dragon win

Yee Kwan celebrates winning investment from Deborah Meaden on the Dragons' Den last night.
Yee Kwan celebrates winning investment from Deborah Meaden on the Dragons' Den last night.
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“It’s been torture to be honest.”

Sheffield ice cream maker Yee Kwan appeared on Dragons’ Den last night - when viewers saw her win a £50,000 investment from Deborah Meaden in return for a 30 per cent share of her business.

But the episode was filmed at the end of March last year and Yee’s had to keep the news a secret for 11 months.

In the end she had offers from two Dragons, including Kelly Hoppen, underlining the strength of her offer.

She said: “They were really nice to me, I was quite shocked, I was ready to be grilled - I’d memorised all the financial figures - but the product sold itself. It was very interesting to watch it again because the day is a distant memory.

“Deborah’s got a really great track record and she’s a very successful entrepreneur, she’s been very, very supportive.

“I was offering 20 per cent of the business, but obviously she’s a hard-nosed negotiator and in return I have got her expertise, experience and advice.

“The money will help us purchase new capital equipment and grow the business quicker but more importantly Deborah’s guidance will take us to another level. It’s a dream come true!

“I’ve had to keep it quiet all this time, only my close family and friends know.

“It’s been torture to be honest.”

The gap has been so long that Yee has had a baby since filming, Alexa was born eight weeks ago.

Contracts with Deborah are set to be signed “imminently” and Yee is looking to a year of growth.

The firm, based on Wellington Street in the city centre, employs five, turns over £100,000 and makes 18 Asian flavoured ice creams and five sorbets including green tea ice cream and lime and lemongrass sorbet.

Customers include Harvey Nichols and a host of hotels. But a stall she opened in The Moor Market in December 2013 closed in April last year due to “lack of footfall,” she said.

Now she is targeting chain restaurants, hotels and contract caterers.

The mum-of-three quit surveying to launch the business five years ago.