Dragon’s Den games entrepreneur makes Mitcham Market a destination

Merton Council will be welcoming former Dragon’s Den contestant and successful entrepreneur, Rachel Lowe to open revamped Mitcham Market on Thursday 5 March.

From 11am Market Square will be a hive of activity with market stallholders selling an array of goods and products including fruit and vegetables, hats and caps, clothing and CDs. A cake especially baked for the occasion by local caterer, Shamim Haarhoff, will be cut and shared out to residents as part of the launch celebrations.

Rachel Lowe is the inventor of the board game ‘Destination’, and is an inspiring example of an enterprising person who has become immensely successful. Her product is now stocked in shops such as Hamleys and is one of the best selling board games in the UK.

At the launch Merton Council will be on hand with top tips from Mitcham Means Business for all budding entrepreneurs on how to set up a business. Information about how to make the most of your CV and how to write a job application which makes the maximum impact will be available. Visitors to the launch will also be able to find out about adult education classes and skills building initiatives run by the council.

Merton Council has begun a programme of works in Mitcham town centre with funding from the London Development Agency through the Mitcham Means Business project.

Rachel Lowe said: ‘I’m looking forward to opening Mitcham Market. Entrepreneurship and local businesses should be cherished as they are the lifeblood of a community. By supporting our stallholders we are supporting the local economy which makes for a vibrant community where success and prosperity are valued. I would say to anyone wanting to open a business, no matter what kind, follow your dream and make it work. Dragon’s Den was a great experience for me even though the dragons didn’t want to back my idea. It made me more determined than ever to make my idea work. Now my game Destination is selling really well and I’m expanding the business. I’ve even been in touch with the Dragons since my business became successful.’

Merton Council cabinet member for regeneration Councillor Diane Neil Mills said, ‘Bringing the market together in this way has improved the functionality and attractiveness of the market, making it easier for customers to browse and buy from the stallholders. Market Square is the hub of Mitcham and will be the heart of private enterprise in the town centre. Market stalls provide a good opportunity for both new and existing small businesses allowing flexibility and affordability. We are continuing to explore ways to improve the market, including the possibility of providing specialist markets on particular days. Looking to the future, we want to make Merton proud of its business credentials and let everyone know what a great place it is to do business.’

Note to editors

Rachel Lowe used to drive a cab around the streets of Portsmouth to support her two young children. While on a shift Rachel had the idea for a board game called Destination. The player’s pieces are miniature taxis and the idea of the game is to collect fares from famous destinations across the city.

Rachel later enrolled on a law with business degree at the University of Portsmouth. There she entered her game idea in the design category of an Enterprise Challenge at the Student Union. She won and used the money to make a prototype. Rachel sent it to major toy companies but her idea was rejected. She decided to set up her own company RTL Games. She then took part in BBC2’s Dragon’s Den, but the dragons didn’t take to her idea either. Undeterred, Rachel launched Destination London in Hamleys and the stock that had been ordered sold out by 5pm on the first day.

There are now 15 editions of Destination including Destination New York and Destination Paris.

Rachel is also working with Walt Disney on her first junior edition – Destination Animation, which features characters from Disney Pixar films including Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles.

She recently won the prestigious Natwest Everywoman Award and has also received recognition from Buckingham Palace.