Piece of cake for Dragon as ProperMaid wins backing

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A YORKSHIRE business that was founded on a kitchen table is breathing fire into Britain’s cake-making industry, with a little help from a “dragon”.

BBC Dragon Deborah Meaden has decided to pour her hard-earned cash into Yorkshire-based cake maker ProperMaid – investing £50,000 in the award-winning business in return for a 25 per cent stake.

Ms Meaden made the commitment to support Propermaid during the Dragons’ Den Christmas Special, which was broadcast on BBC2 on Sunday.

ProperMaid’s “traditional cakes with a twist” so intrigued the TV Dragons that two of them ended up battling over the investment before business owner and former dinner lady Allison Whitmarsh chose to accept Ms Meaden’s offer of investment.

Ms Meaden said: “This is the next stage in the massive revival of great British baking and Allison is a tremendous example of how entrepreneurs with great ideas, excellent products, a sound business model and the passion and drive to succeed can quickly make a difference in business, as well as in their local communities. Together we’ll achieve great things for ProperMaid and the team is already working on a slimming cake to help shed those post-Christmas pounds – I would imagine everyone will want a slice of that.”

Based in Huddersfield, ProperMaid was founded by Allison Whitmarsh, who built the business with the help of a local Business Mine initiative.

Ms Whitmarsh and her team have created cakes with a difference.

Flavours have included courgette and lime, beetroot and chocolate, liquorice, dandelion and burdock, which won a Gold Star at the 2012 Great Taste Awards, and chocolate chilli and fudge, made with real chillies.

Ms Whitmarsh said yesterday: “I couldn’t have dreamed four years ago when I baked my first cake for a customer in my home kitchen that in 2012 I’d have two Dragons vying to invest in my business.

“I’m extremely proud of our brand and everyone in the ProperMaid team for helping to make this possible.

“ProperMaid has come a long way in a relatively short period of time and with Deborah on board who knows how high our cakes will rise.”

ProperMaid is the 33rd investment Deborah Meaden has made through Dragons’ Den during the seven series in which she has appeared to date, with her ‘Den’ investments totalling £2m.

Last year, ProperMaid was one of the three regional finalists in the Yorkshire Post-backed Local Business Accelerators (LBA) competition.

The finalists received mentoring from leading business people in the region and free advertising with the Yorkshire Post.

greg.wright@ypn.co.uk