On the evening of 12th September EverywomanUK awarded Ellen Green CEO of Blue Badge Co, and Julianne Ponan the CEO of Creative Nature the prestigious status of ‘everywomanUK retail ambassadors’ in their award ceremony in central London.
From Dragon’s Den to Success
You will likely recognise Ellen and Julianne from the hit BBC Two programme Dragon’s Den, as they both appeared in the series of 2015 and 2017.
The EverywomanUK Retail Ambassador Programme chooses 12 ambassadors each year, chosen by a panel of female business leaders, who all believe that their chosen ambassadors are reinventing retail and encouraging others to advance their careers in the retail industry. Maxine Benson, MBE of EverywomanUK, commented, “This year’s ambassadors are true advocates for “reinventing retail”, with all judges agreeing they are an incredibly impressive example of the best of retail talent. Their success stories are exactly what the industry needs to prove how much diversity there is among ever-evolving retail job roles.” A huge achievement for both Julianne Ponan and Ellen Green for their efforts in changing the retail industry with their hard work and determination recognised.
Ellen Green is the CEO of Blue Badge Co, her business is based in Bristol. After graduating from Falmouth University, Ellen was made redundant from a successful job in the music industry, she kept busy by helping her friend make fashionable display wallets to hold disabled parking permits. In 2013 Ellen Green secured a bank loan and brought out her friend’s shares in their business making her the sole business owner. Fast forward to 2017, Ellen is now the CEO of Blue Badge Company, leading 20 people in her company to achieve greatness regardless of their disability (40% of Green’s workforce is disabled or full-time caregivers for someone with a disability). Her Blue Badge products are stocked in Argos, Boots, Halfords and The Post Office.
In 2015 Ellen appeared on BBC Two’s Dragon’s Den and was offered three offers of investment, the highest being £70,000 for 35% of her business from Touker Suleyman. She declined all offers despite her initial desire to team up with the dragons, and her company’s sales have increased by 70% since her appearance.
Julianne Ponan is the CEO of Creative Nature, that sells free-from superfood products, and is based in both Surrey and Wales. Allergen friendly snack bars, high protein flapjacks, free-from home-baking mixes, are the complete collection that Creative Nature provides in stockists such as Ocado, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, and many more. Julianne acquired the business at only 22 years old, after completing her Business Management and Finance degree at the University of Northampton, and has turned Creative Nature into a successful business with a current turnover of £520,000. Julianne appeared in the latest series in August and managed to walk away with an investment of £75,000 from investor Deborah Meaden towards the growth of Creative Nature.