Durham entrepreneur Angela Sterling has revealed her determination in internationally expanding her children’s language business Lingotot - even if it means going against the advice of leading multi-millionaires on BBC’s Dragons’ Den.
Appearing on Sunday evening’s (February 5th) show, mum of two Angela left without investment but says she left smiling nonetheless.
Establishing the firm in 2010, Lingotot now teaches more than 10,000 children each week through a growing franchise network. Determined to scale the business further, Angela entered the Den looking to raise £50k in exchange for a 10% stake in her company.
Despite being supported by a team of Lingotot students, who sang to the Dragons in four different languages, Angela missed out on investment although received encouraging words from the panel.
Angela had hoped to bring a Dragon on board to boost her overseas plans but the investors did not share her optimism for international expansion.
Instead, the panel encouraged the North East entrepreneur to continue to grow her successful UK franchise model and recommended that she enlist the support of a close mentor, as opposed to seeking any sort of financial help.
Nevertheless, the business woman is determined to make a success of her international vision, recently-launching Lingotot Dubai.
Already attracting the interest of some of the largest independent school chains in the UAE, Angela plans to continue her Middle Eastern rollout and even has her eyes set on further expansion.
Angela, however, summed the experience up as something she would never forget, with the Den offering so much more than TV entertainment.
She explained: “They say hindsight is a great thing, but the Dragons were totally right not to offer me the investment I asked for as it’s not money that the business needs right now.
“I entered the den feeling frustrated; I knew the business could be even bigger and better but I didn’t feel fully equipped to take it to the next level on my own. I’ve listened to their advice and have since found the right support to take the business to the next level.”
On Lingotot’s future, she said: “Yes, in some ways I have gone against their advice when it comes to international expansion plans but the Dragons certainly helped me to establish a much clearer picture of the opportunities and threats of operating Lingotot overseas.
“I know that foreign lands are not necessarily paved with gold and the figures that I quoted were not realistic but I can certainly see real opportunities for the business to flourish and I am pursuing a number of different options whilst continuing to grow the successful UK franchise network.”
Lingotot now operates 40 franchises around the UK together with Lingotot Dubai and is currently working closely with the Government’s Department of International Trade in an attempt to export the model further across the globe.