But Carrie Bate was quick to offer a Highbury College business student the chance of work experience at her £2 million business The Little Coffee Bag Co.
“I’m going to cry – I’m so excited,” said Peyman Rzgar, who’s studying for her BTEC Level 3.
Peyman had come into College specially to hear Carrie, who was invited as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.
The inspirational businesswoman wowed students by describing how she overcame the odds to achieve her vision.
Born on a Brighton council estate, her brother died when she was 15, her father later committed suicide, and she suffered a nervous breakdown. Only two years ago Carrie also received major surgery for a tumour on her spine.
Her distinctive coffee bags, designed to produce cafetiere-style coffee for one by just adding boiling water, are now sold in Harrods and Harvey Nicholls, and she has contracts with Virgin and EasyJet, as well as major hotels, including The Savoy.
When she appeared on Dragons Den, she accepted a joint offer by Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden of a £100,000 investment in return for a 33.3% stake in her company, but famously went on to turn it down, saying she needed a more ‘hands on’ approach.
She told students: “Abundance within you is amazing, it’s endless, you’ve only got to believe in yourself.”
Carrie later said she was really impressed by Peyman, who has two children, one aged three and the other three months. She returned to College for her second year when her baby was just 10-weeks-old.
Peyman will be going up to Shropshire to complete her work experience in February and Carrie told her: “Bring your children with you!”