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Rachel is one of Britain’s highest profile female entrepreneurs. she came to public prominence as an investor on the first two seasons of BBC Two’s TV show Dragons’ Den, in which hers was the sole female perspective amongst the five investing entrepreneurs known as the “Dragons”.
Having started her working life as an office junior, at the age of 24 Rachel Elnaugh created the market leading experiences brand Red Letter Days on a shoestring budget from the front room of her home. Red Letter Days went on to generate over £100million in turnover in the 16 years that she ran it, and in doing so pioneered the UK’s £250 million experiences sector.
This earned her an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2002, as well as being short listed for the 2001 Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year award and the Growing Business Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2002.
In early 2005, Rachel shot to fame as one of the original Dragons in BBCTV’s BAFTA nominated cult business show Dragons’ Den.
She acted as a judge for this year’s ‘Enterprising Britain’ awards, has been appointed as an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, is an entrepreneur in residence at the British Library Business Centre, and was presented with the IAB ‘Champion for Entrepreneurship in the UK Award’ for 2008 and also gave evidence to Parliament on how to develop an enterprise culture in the UK.
Rachel acts as mentor and consultant to a number of small businesses and launched her own unique Entrepreneurial Profiling system at the Business Start Up Show at London’s Excel in April 2007.
Her first book ‘Business Nightmares’ was published by Crimson on 8 May 2008 and was serialised in the Telegraph as well as being WHSmith’s Business Book of the Month for May. She is now working on a sequel featuring the Business Nightmare stories of ordinary entrepreneurs to be released in early 2009.
Rachel is a prolific business speaker, having entertained audiences throughout the UK and beyond including Harvard Business School, the London Innovation Forum, and the Conservative Party Conference.