Sheffield businessman Will Chew hits the right note to secure investment on Dragons' Den

As far as Dragons’ Den pitches go, it was certainly a memorable one.

By Sam Cooper
Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 2:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 1:11 am

Will Chew burst into the room in front of Deborah Meaden, Tej Lalvani, Peter Jones, Sara Davies and Touker Suleyman and performed an original song based on a folk tune.

And it was not just a memorable pitch, it was a fruitful one for the founder of the Malaysian chilli paste Mak Tok, after the show’s newest dragon Ms Davies took a punt on the business.

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Dragons' Den - The Dragons. Pictured are: Touker Suleyman, Sara Davies, Deborah Meaden, Tej Lalvani, Peter Jones. Picture: BBC Studios/Andrew Farrington

Will, who set up the company while studying at the University of Sheffield in 2017, said: “It felt quite scary in there because I was in there for around an hour-and-a-half but they were really nice people.

“It was nerve-wracking and what made it worse was that I was the last one into the den itself and I didn’t make my pitch until 7.30pm.”

Mr Chew, who studied a masters in music psychology, went into the den hoping for a £50,000 investment in return for a 20 per cent stake in the business.

Will Chew on BBC's Dragons' Den. Picture: BBC

While the entrepreneur was praised for his ‘impactful’ presentation, it was Ms Davies, who was happy to invest the full amount for a 33 per cent stake in the business, which Will accepted.

Mr Chew, aged 28, said: “Before the Den everything was fine. We were getting interest but we needed that extra boost of help from somebody who has got contacts and experience of building a business.

“That’s why I thought I needed to do something to give us a boost and I just thought: ‘Why not Dragons’ Den?’

“I signed up in January and one of the runners asked me to go down and I went for a test run and then went and made my pitch in April.”

Mr Chew said the investment would be spent on increasing jar size, selling tubs to restaurants and different branding and manufacturing options.

He added he also hoped to get his products on online supermarket Ocado and Amazon.

Mr Chew said: “The audition itself was filmed at the end of April and we have been working together for close to three months now.

“Sara has been super helpful, very nurturing and has shown her knowledge. There’s now a team of professionals helping us get onto things like Amazon and we’ll be launching some brand new packaging on Saturday.”

Mr Chew said he was also hoping to get Mak Tok, which means ‘Grandmother in Malay, products onto other online retailers.