Birmingham chocolate entrepreneurs to appear on BBC’s Dragons’ Den with chilled business


The wrappers are off for a few chocolate entrepreneurs when they could potentially put their heads on the Dragons’ Den block next week.

Brummies Steve Russell and Giles Atwell have taken a ‘win-win’ approach to their chilled chocolate business by enlisting support from BBC business tycoons.

Viewers will see them pitch on Thursday, March 10. They certainly have the credentials to make pots out of shocks. Both hail from the chocolate capital of the world, Bournville, and are former Cadbury employees.

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The Wispas are poised to win, despite the credit crunch. Launched as an e-commerce business in 2020, the pair handcraft five varieties of chilled fresh chocolates from their kitchen in Birmingham.

The Dragons will undoubtedly take a bite of “Russell and Atwell’s” creamy milk, delicious salted caramel, crackled creamy hazelnut, smooth dark and extra rich dark.

Giles, a third-generation chocolate entrepreneur, is involved in marketing. He said: “We were quite nervous about going to Dragon’s Den after less than nine months of negotiations, but we were hoping Steve’s chocolates would convince them.”

He is described as a man with “chocolate in his blood”. That means there could be chocolate on the carpet on Thursday.

Giles’ grandfather founded a chocolate company, Lesme Ltd, in 1921 and his father ran it for several years before it was sold in the 1980s.

The Fresh Chocolatiers, Russell & Atwell, make their television debut

Steve is a chocolate scientist, an expert in all things cocoa, with 20 years of experience. He created bars for household brands such as Mars, Cadbury, Green & Blacks and Godiva, where he and Giles met.

Speaking of the inspiration for the new venture, he said: “The ‘long life’ chocolate bar was invented at the start of the 20th century, but most homes have had refrigerators since the 1950s, while fresh milk , pasta and desserts have all migrated to the fridge, chocolate has been left, literally, on the shelf. It is high time that fresh chocolate became the reference in terms of quality, simplicity of ingredients and indulgence.

Chocolate lovers can opt for letterbox-friendly pouches (from £13.50), stylish refillable glass jars (from £30 for two); or a regular Russell & Atwell subscription (from £50). You can see how Giles and Steve get along at 8 p.m. Thursday.

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