Sarah Willingham is one of the youngest, most successful people in the food and leisure industries. She was recently acknowledged by Management Today and The Times as one of the ’35 most successful women under 35’ in the UK. In 2007 she was voted as Business Weekly’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007.
Having spent the early years of her career managing some of the biggest household names in restaurants – Planet Hollywood and Pizza Express, Sarah decided to go it alone. She successfully raised the finance to buy The Bombay Bicycle Club in 2004, and turned a heavily loss making business of 6 restaurants into a profitable group of 17, establishing the largest chain of Indian restaurants in the UK. She sold the business successfully in 2007.
In 2004 Sarah also co-established her own AIM listed company, Neutrahealth PLC which has since acquired 6 businesses in the fast growing Nutraceutical industry.
Subsequently Sarah continued as a main board director of The Clapham House Group where she was responsible for three of their four brands; Tootsies, The Real Greek and The Bombay Bicycle Club, over 50 restaurants and more than 1500 employees.
In April 2008 Sarah decided to return to her entrepreneurial roots and set up a private equity firm in the UK. She is now in the process of further fund raising, having secured the funds for the first acquisition. She is also working on a number of other business ventures.
Over the last few years Sarah has also established herself as a television presenter and business expert for the BBC.
In April 2008, she became FSA-approved and co-established a private equity platform in the UK. She is also working on a number of other business ventures including a consumer-facing website, promoting food from her home town as patron for ‘The Taste of Staffordshire’, and acting as Contributing Editor for Fine Foodies magazine.
In 2011 Sarah invested in the London Cocktail Club alongside Raymond Blanc, JJ Goodman, David Moore and James Hopkins. The first Cocktail bar opened in January 2011 on Goodge Street, London and in February 2012 the London Cocktail Club added their second cocktail bar on Shaftsbury Avenue, London.
In July 2012 Sarah launched a money saving website called www.letssavesomemoney.com which aims to help people take control of their time and be smart with their money, encouraging users to take action, through 1-minute guides to various aspects of money saving.