BB columnist secures Dragon’s funding

23 October, 2012

British Baker columnist Umer Ashraf, owner of the iCafé coffee chain, has successfully gained £80,000 in funding after appearing on BBC Two programme Dragons’ Den.

Businessman Duncan Bannatyne stumped up the cash, during the show, which aired on Sunday (21 October), after Ashraf put in a successful pitch for the investment to help franchise his chain of coffee shops, in Glasgow.

However, Ashraf did have to concede a greater share of his business than he initially offered, with Bannatyne requesting a 49% share – 19% higher than Ashraf’s initial suggestion of 30%.

Bannatyne also suggested selling one of his existing businesses as a franchise, to trial the idea.

Ashraf currently has two iCafé stores, and a Coffee To Go outlet, but has hopes to open a fourth store, as well as franchise the brand.

Ashraf said that, with Duncan Bannatyne on board, he expects the business to start growing at a much faster rate. “We are passionate about providing the very best of everything for our customers. That means we have a commitment to deliver the best taste, service and product.

“It is these qualities, allied to a strong potential for growth, which attracted Mr Bannatyne and I am very excited to have him on board,” added Ashraf.

He opened his first iCafé in 2005, on Glasgow’s Great Western Road, aged 21 years old. The business has previously won Eatery of the Year at the Scottish Independent Retail Awards.

Ashraf is a regular 'In My World' columnist for British Baker.





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