Ex-Dragon Newman says absence of credit leaving entrepreneurs ‘choked’

FORMER Dragons Den star Sarah Newman says credit has become so scarce in Ireland that it has left many business people choked.

The entrepreneur was in the news recently when the cleaning business she ran with her partner, Kilkenny hurling star DJ Carey was wound up.

She said yesterday that nobody sets out in business to fail, adding that to realise a business is finished can be a “very hard pill to swallow”.

“Laying down your tools can be one of the hardest things you do,” she said.

Ms Newman, who is from Colchester in Essex, said given her time back she would not have made as many investments in Ireland.

She said that’s she’s glad she took part in Dragons Den but she feels television is “not for her”.

Ms Newman, who was replaced on Dragons Den by magazine publisher Norah Casey, said that the programme opened many doors for her but it’s not what she wanted. She said one annoyance is that on television things can be too heavily edited.

“I just don’t feel that environment is perfect for me, but I do wish all the Dragons well,” she said.

She said that she is no longer involved in the two businesses that she agreed to invest in while she was on the show.

Ms Newman was speaking at the Women Mean Business conference in University College Cork yesterday, which was attended by around 150 women. The conference, entitled: Leadership & Women, aimed to bring people together for discussion and debate in a networking environment.

Ms Newman said what makes an entrepreneur is having the courage to take the leap.

“I’ve never met an entrepreneur who went into business to make money or know what the outcome was going to be. They start a business because they want to,” she said.

She said that nobody in Ireland knows when the bottom is and “only time will tell”. Ms Newman set up the company, needahotel.com, and later sold it for a figure believed to be around €50 million. She is currently involved in a number of projects and said she is bringing investment to Ireland.

Also speaking at the event was Irish Examiner chief executive Mairead Maher, Kaye Ronayne, co-founder of Round Table Mediation and Training, Jean van Sinderen-Law, director of development at UCC and Samantha McConnell, IFG chief investment officer.

Former head of radio at RTÉ, Helen Shaw was the facilitator. She heads up Athena Media, a digital media production company she founded seven years ago.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up