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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Lancashire Entrepreneur Scoops £50k Investment on Dragons’ Den for Edible Dog Card Venture

In an inspiring display of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, Lancashire’s own Gemma Connolly, the brain behind Buckshaw Village-based Scoff Paper, took the spotlight on BBC One’s Dragons’ Den, walking away with a hefty £50,000 investment. This significant financial boost came courtesy of Dragon investor Sara Davies, in exchange for a 25% stake in Connolly’s unique edible dog birthday card business.

Connolly’s journey to success began in the quaint setting of her kitchen in 2020, amidst the global lockdown. With a vision fueled by her love for her dog, Loki, she embarked on a quest to create a safe, edible paper. Her experiments with potato peelings and other dog-friendly ingredients soon bore fruit, leading to the creation of a robust, printable, and completely safe product for canine consumption.

Scoff Paper’s appeal quickly transcended the boundaries of online commerce on Etsy, securing shelf space in local pet stores, garden centres, and eventually scoring deals with retail giants such as Pets at Home, John Lewis, Clintons Cards, Aldi, and B&M. This remarkable expansion was not solely the result of Connolly’s unwavering dedication but was also supported by her victory at the Lancashire Innovation Challenge in 2022, where she previously won £15,000.

The accolades and support did not end there. Connolly benefited immensely from Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, where she received vital guidance on digital marketing, e-commerce, finance, and staff training in 2021. This comprehensive support network, combined with Sara Davies’ strategic backing and the national exposure from Dragons’ Den, has poised Scoff Paper for international acclaim.

Reflecting on her experience, Connolly shared, “I’m not good at blowing my own trumpet, but I gave it everything I had when I went into The Den and was proud of my presentation and my responses to the Dragons’ subsequent grilling. It probably helped that I had Leo by my side.”

Despite the rigorous evaluation by the Dragons, Connolly’s proposition resonated with Sara Davies, who expressed her belief in Connolly’s vision, marking a pivotal moment for the entrepreneur. “With Sara’s know-how and support, I can put 100% of my time and focus into our business and get the bespoke manufacturing facility running at maximum capacity,” Connolly stated, eyes set on global domination.

Lancashire County Council’s Innovation Programme Lead, Maya Ellis, and Andrew Leeming, Programme Manager at Boost, both lauded Connolly’s achievement as a testament to Lancashire’s creative and commercial vitality.

Gemma Connolly’s story is not just a tale of personal triumph but a beacon of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs across the UK, proving that with innovation, perseverance, and the right support, dreams can indeed become reality.

Scott Dylan
Scott Dylanhttps://scottdylan.com
Scott Dylan, a UK-based entrepreneur, co-founded Inc & Co in 2019 with the mission to acquire and rejuvenate struggling companies, protect jobs, reduce creditor losses, and promote growth. With global operations and an impressive turnover exceeding £150 million, Inc & Co, co-managed by Group CEO Jack Mason and Group CTO Dave Antrobus, has effectively acquired and overseen businesses in diverse sectors such as Professional Services, Travel, Retail, Ecommerce, and Shared Workspaces. The firm has also profitably divested businesses like MyLife Digital to Dataguard and Laundrapp to Laundryheap. Outside his professional pursuits, Scott is an ardent mental health advocate, drawing from his personal experience with Complex PTSD. A supporter of Women in Business and Tech, Scott openly identifies as gay and places great emphasis on cultivating a diverse, inclusive workplace environment where team members are loyal and supportive. With over 20 years of experience in leadership roles, he recognizes the significance of nurturing robust relationships and cultures for achieving success. Born and raised in South East London, Scott's modest upbringing and his journey of overcoming challenges and learning from failures have influenced his entrepreneurial mindset. He maintains that success is a collective effort and that assembling a reliable team is crucial for accomplishing goals.


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