Duncan Walker Bannatyne is an entrepreneur, author and philanthropist. His business interests lie in Media, television, hotels, health clubs, transport and property. He has authored six books and is also known for his appearance on the BBC show Dragon’s Den.
Bannatyne was born on 2nd February 1949 in Clydebank, Scotland to a relatively poor family. He enlisted in the Royal Navy at the age of 15. Unfortunately he had a dishonorable discharge from the Navy at the age of 19 when he threw a fellow officer from a boat landing jetty. He wrote in his autobiography that he had done this to get out from the Navy as his interest in it had faded. After this incident he served in the Colchester military detention center. Duncan Bannatyne spent most of his early twenties shifting from one job to another. He was nearly broke till the age of 30 and did not even have a bank account. His luck took a turn after he moved to Stockton-on-Tees in North England. He bought an ice cream van for £450 and soon money was abundant. He expanded by purchasing more vans. He sold this business for £28000 and used that money to establish a nursing home which he called Quality Care Homes.
Bannatyne sold Quality Care Homes for £26 million in 1997. He also founded a children’s nursing chain known as Just Learning which he sold for £12 million. He then expanded into health clubs. He is the owner of Bannatyne Health Clubs. In 2006, he acquired 26 more health clubs from the Hilton Hotels for £92 million. He now owns the biggest health club chains in the United Kingdom. In 2010, he bought the Charlton House Hotel and Spa situated in Somerset. He decided to add more spa services and treatment rooms to the hotel. He launched the Bannatyne Spa Hotel in 2008 in Hastings. The hotel is worth £12 million. He started writing a monthly column in the largest magazine of UK ‘Business Matters’ in 2009. In 2010 he appeared in the BBC program ‘Dragon’s Den’ alongside Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones. In January 2013, he also gave his appearance in the series called ‘The Great British Bake Off’.
Duncan Bannatyne has done a lot of philanthropic works. He has worked with several charities most notably ‘Mary’s meals’. He established a hospital for HIV/AIDS for orphans to which he gave £80,000. He established the ‘Bannatyne Charitable Trust’ in 2008 to which he invested his own £10,00,000. He helped raise £20,000 for the NCH charity on the TV show ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ He has been lauded for his services to the business world and his philanthropic efforts. He received an honorary Doctorate of Science from the Glasgow Caledonian University in 2006. He was also given an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration degree by the Teesside University in 2009. His books include ‘Anyone Can Do It’, ‘How to Be Smart with Money’, ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ and ‘How to Be Smart with Your Time’. His estimated fortune, according to Sunday Times Rich List was £430 million in 2011 which dropped due to his divorce and property values.