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Home Gravesend News Article
A Gravesend husband and wife have become the first British Asian couple to secure an investment on the BBC show Dragon's Den last night.
Vini and Bal Aujla founded Vini & Bal's - a range of chilled Indian curry sauces - and have now launched nationwide in Sainsbury's after winning a £50,000 cash injection.
It is the second business venture for the Gravesend couple, who already own the Station Bakery and Fine Food store in Meopham.
Although it was edited down to a few minutes, the couple - both of Punjabi heritage - presented a three-hour pitch on last night's show.
Despite interest from the show's veterans Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden, it was new Dragon Piers Linney who agreed to put in £50,000 for a 30% equity share in the business.
"To develop the business to the next level we wanted support to help increase our distribution and fund brand development and marketing..." - businessman Vini Aujla
After the investment, Vini & Bal's secured a spot in Sainsbury's and now three of the four varieties are available at 300 stores – Fiery Mirchi, Jeera and Shahi.
The range was created using the pair's traditional family recipes.
New Dragon Piers's decision to buy equity in Vini & Bal's marks his first foray into the food and drink industry.
He said: "It was clear that Vini and Bal were determined to succeed and that together they were a capable team, having already started the business and succeeding in getting the product into some stores with limited resources and capital.
"I immediately recognised that they had spotted a gap in the market. Vini & Bal's provides consumers with a genuinely authentic Indian culinary experience.
"By using the finest fresh ingredients and chilling the product, the sauce's Punjabi flavours are kept intact for a powerful taste, which is worlds apart from competitor brands sold in jars."
Co-founder Vini said: "We pitched for investment on Dragon's Den to secure the capital our business needed to help it grow.
"Before we were joined by Piers, we had successfully launched our brand and secured a number of retailers to sell it. However, to develop the business to the next level we wanted support to help increase our distribution and fund brand development and marketing.
"We're extremely confident that shoppers will love our range of sauces. Consumers are far more health conscious, with an understanding of the importance of eating natural food free from preservatives and additives.
"By only using fresh ingredients, we can deliver healthy and nutritious sauces, offering an alternative to jars of pre-made sauces that currently saturate shelves."
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