A former Dragons’ Den contestant who then went bankrupt is back – with the Birmingham board game which was ridiculed by the show’s judges.
Rachel Lowe hit rock bottom when her business folded after failing to win funding from banks in order to get a big order of the games in the shops in time for Christmas.
The Destination Birmingham game was about players driving through the streets of the city in their minicabs in a race to collect the most fares.
When Ms Lowe, 38, appeared on Dragons’ Den in 2004, it was early in the show’s history and she didn’t realise the level of preparation needed.
The result was a humiliating experience and the Dragons poured scorn on the idea that she could succeed in such a competitive market place.
But she was able to tie down a deal with toy retailer Hamley’s and the London version of the game sold best – shifting more units than Monopoly in its first year.
Failing to secure the necessary funding to expand proved fatal to Ms Lowe’s business and the company went into administration.
Ms Lowe was declared bankrupt and her home was repossessed. She said: “At my lowest point I believed my career was over and my reputation irreversibly damaged.”
Being made an MBE in the same year for services to business left her with mixed emotions.
She said: “My initial reaction was that I couldn’t accept the MBE. I felt like I’d failed and didn’t deserve it.
“Ultimately, though, I realised what a great honour it was to receive this recognition.”
But she’s now on the comeback trail – and has released the 10th anniversary edition of Destination Birmingham – and claims to have been overwhelmed by the positive responses
She said: “After the rollercoaster ride of losing everything I am delighted to be back in Birmingham with our 10th anniversary edition.
“It’s been amazing. I’ve been overwhelmed with the response that we’ve had.
“People love playing the game and it’s great to be able to show off all the great Birmingham landmarks.
“Board games seem to be really popular again. They’re inclusive and provide something that the family can enjoy together.”
The 10th anniversary special edition board game has all of the major Birmingham landmarks, including the children’s hospital, Aston University and the Royal Ballet – it’s been around eight years since the game was last in the shops in the city.
Ms Lowe, who is a regular at the NEC’s spring and autumn fairs, appeared on BBC Panorama’s Banks Behaving Badly programme and subsequently teamed up with fellow entrepreneur and investor Simon Dolan.
Together they relaunched the Destination brand and have gone on to create a whole series of games, including a Disney Pixar version of Destination Animation , a Harry Potter edition, a Destination Christmas version and most recently Destination Downton Abbey with NBC Universal.