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When Theo Met Theo

He’s compact, easy on the eye and really rather cute and his namesake – retail magnate Theo Paphitis – isn’t bad either!

The Dragons’ Den star met the micro-camper which carries his name at an exclusive seminar he organised for hundreds of small businesses given a leg up via his weekly Small Business Sunday initiative on Twitter.

Harrogate Motorhomes owner Annette Wingate was so grateful for her inclusion in January, she named her newest vehicle Theo.

Harrogate Motorhomes

Annette Wingate with Theo Paphitis

Annette drove him down to Egbaston to meet the man who helped win her £15,000 worth of business in a matter of days – which has put her firm 30% ahead of its 2012 forecast after just three months.

 Annette Wingate said:

I wasn’t sure if there was going to be time for the two Theos to get together but the real one had already heard about us naming our latest addition after him and I was thrilled when he agreed to be introduced

We’re enormously grateful for Theo’s help and support. Naming our newest vehicle after him just seemed a great way to express it – although we can’t claim all the credit.

The idea came from on online competition we ran which was won by Harrogate’s Anna Glazier, who suggested Theo first. There were plenty of other great ideas too but Theo seemed the natural choice after all the help we received from the real one.

Around 400 delegates from over 200 small firms at yesterday’s exclusive, invitation-only gathering enjoyed a champagne reception and lunch before a two-hour presentation by the business guru, investor and philanthropist who recalled the pain of the early days.

Annette Wingate added: 

His advice was to have passion and belief in your business – and to do something else if you don’t love what you’re doing.

It was an inspirational day and a fantastic opportunity to meet other small businesses and some now making millions.

Harrogate Motorhomes was founded in August 2010 after Annette investigated the possibility of hiring a camper van from a company based in the Harrogate area where she lives.

Unable to find one, she decided to launch her own, initially acquiring a single vehicle and inviting other owners to consider leasing their vehicles to her when they were not in use.

Focusing on friendly customer service and a pet-friendly, fixed-price policy, the company grew quickly through 2011, moving out of Annette’s kitchen to its first offices near Wetherby and then to its current base at The Grove in Harrogate. The company currently has a fleet of seven vehicles and employs four people.


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