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From Reggae Reggae Sauce to Shakespeare: Levi Roots urges audience to seize their own Dragons’ Den moment

PUBLISHED: 16:09 03 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:45 04 November 2017

EDP Business Awards 2017. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.

EDP Business Awards 2017. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.

Copyright 2017

Reggae Reggae Sauce founder Levi Roots summoned inspiration from Shakespeare as he urged business leaders to seize opportunities in front of them, in an impassioned speech at the EDP Business Awards.

EDP Business Awards 2017. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography. EDP Business Awards 2017. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.

The food-and-drink entrepreneur shared the story of how he “slayed the dragons” in his appearance on Dragons’ Den, where he won support which proved the breakthrough in building the sauce into a brand now worth an estimated £60m.

But he revealed his own personal mantra to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset came from the play Julius Caesar.

“I remember the words of Brutus: ‘There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves or lose our ventures’,” he told the audience.

“You must take the current when it serves - in other words, take your chance when it comes – or lose your ventures. My time had come on Dragons’ Den. When your moment comes, it’s your moment.”

EDP Business Awards 2017. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography. EDP Business Awards 2017. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.

MORE: Winners are crowned at glittering EDP Business Awards 2017

After having sold his grandmother’s secret-recipe jerk sauce at the Notting Hill Carnival for many years – from his inimitable Rasta’raunt – Mr Roots’ TV appearance catapulted him into the spotlight and brought him to the attention of the major supermarkets.

Before Dragons’ Den, the biggest batch he had made was for 65 bottles of the sauce – within three weeks Sainsbury’s had placed an order for 250,000.

“A quarter of a million bottles? How is that possible?” he said. “Three weeks later I had another call from Sainsbury’s to tell me that my sauce was outselling Heinz Tomato Ketchup. It had never happened before.

EDP Business Awards 2017. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography. EDP Business Awards 2017. Photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.

“It’s a fantastic journey when you innovate, when you bring something out from inside you.

“I don’t believe that I slayed the dragons and became an entrepreneur overnight. I was always me, waiting for someone to come along and for someone to pluck out the real Levi.”

He added: “If you can innovate, if you can bring something out from inside you and bring it to the public, that’s what it is about.

“It’s all about being fearless. You have to have that thing the Dragons call the USP – the unique selling point. This was mine: it came from my mother, my grandmother. You can’t all sing and play the guitar like me but I’m sure that you all have your own USP.”

PICTURE GALLERY: The EDP Business Awards 2017 – in pictures

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