Duncan Bannatyne is a Scottish entrepreneur, philanthropist, author and television personality best known for starring as one of the "Dragons" on the reality television series Dragons' Den, since 2005.
His business interests include hotels, health clubs, spas, media, TV, stage schools, property and transport.
A poverty-stricken childhood steeled Duncan's drive to make his fortune from an early age. After his naval career, which included a spell in military prison, Duncan drifted from job to job, ending up in Jersey. It was here that he made the decision to turn his life around.
He began his entrepreneurial life by trading in cars, but it was with an ice cream van purchased for £450 that he changed the course of his life. With 'Duncan's Super Ices', he set out to become the King of the 99 and eventually sold the business for £28,000, founding a nursing home business with the proceeds.
He sold his nursing home business for £46-million in 1996. In recent years he has expanded into health clubs with the Bannatyne's chain to his name; he also owns bars, hotels and property. Bannatyne's is now the largest independent chain of health clubs in the UK.
In April 2011, Duncan took on a new venture by setting up Bannatyne Digital, a digital agency aimed at small business start-ups. His wealth as of 2011 was estimated at £430-million by the Sunday Times Rich List.
Duncan holds an OBE, and is an honorary Doctor of Science from Glasgow Caledonian University for services to business. He was also was given an honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) title from the University of Teesside.
Over 30 charities have benefited from Duncan's involvement, including Comic Relief and the Bannatyne Charitable Trust to support worthwhile causes. He is also a prominent 'No Smoking' campaigner.
Duncan became a Patron of PC David Rathband's Blue Lamp Foundation, a charity established by the Northumbria Police Constable David Rathband who was blinded by Raoul Moat.
A Dragon in the Den since the first season, Duncan has invested millions of pounds since the series began.