Two Dorset businesses have been recognised by a Dragons' Den star.

Every week, entrepreneur Theo Paphitis selects six firms to highlight on his online Small Business Sunday (#SBS) network - and as he has a large social media following, this provides a massive boost to the chosen winners.

They also gain access to a network of like-minded small and micro businesses in the UK and get to attend an annual networking event in Birmingham.

Mr Paphitis has a highly successful portfolio which includes Ryman, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue.

Laura Whittaker, owner of Levoco Chocolate which is based in Weymouth and Charlotte Jackson, owner of Boo’s Toy Shop in Poundbury have both received the prestigious welcome to the #SBS community.

Laura said: “It was so crazy, when I found out I had won, I was quite shocked and I started screaming which caused my husband to come in because he thought something really bad had happened.”

The chocolatier also attended the event in Birmingham which took place recently.

She said: “This is such an amazing initiative by someone who is really successful. He started it to help small businesses. I actually entered twice and won on my second time, and I spoke to people at the event who said it had taken them two years.”

All of the attendees had the chance to meet Theo Paphitis at the end of the event and Laura recounted her experience saying: “The thing that really struck me was that every single person that went up to him, he asked them if they had enjoyed the day – he was so nice to people.

“Theo posted a photo on Instagram of some of the gifts he received on the day and asked people to tag themselves which I did, and I received a message saying Theo would like to send you a letter to say thank you.

“We also got goody bags and there was so much in there it was unbelievable.”

Every year, the event also hosts a Fireside Chat Guest Speaker and this year it was TV personality Stacey Solomon.

Stacey shared her experiences and insights on personal branding, a crucial aspect of success in today’s competitive business landscape, as well as delving into the realm of business investment, particularly focusing on how entrepreneurs can use social media to boost their ventures.

Laura is a big Stacey Solomon fan and said: “Just listening to her speak, she is so switched on and clever and she has done so much for small businesses - I gave her a box of my chocolates.”

Charlotte Jackson, owner of Boo’s Toy Shop said: “It was amazing, we have tried many times over the last four or five years.

Dorset Echo: Charlotte Jackson, owner of Boo’s Toy ShopCharlotte Jackson, owner of Boo’s Toy Shop (Image: Charlotte Jackson)

“For us it was a massive honour to be selected for one of the Small Business Sundays, especially because of the climate we are in, things are a bit more challenging at the moment.

“It’s really nice to be noticed and to have that exposure from someone who has been in business for a long time it was really rewarding, especially to be chosen out of thousands of other people who are applying.”