As Dragons’ Den returns to BBC2 for its ninth series this Sunday there’s a new dragon the budding entrepreneurs will have to impress. Meet Hilary Devey…

Why did you want to take part in Dragons’ Den?
“Well, I wanted to expand upon the portfolio of businesses that I have. I like to help entrepreneurs and I like to see them succeed as I have. It fitted my profile and fitted what I want to achieve in my business career, if you like.”

Can you sympathise with the entreprenuers coming into the Den?
“I started my business [Pall-Ex Group] from scratch. When I was starting out I had three dresses that I had to wash and wear on rotation to keep smart. so I know where these people are coming from; I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I can sympathise.”

What kind of Dragon are you?
“I’m a Northerner so, with me, what you see is what you get. I don’t put people down for the sake of it. But I’m honest, so if I think someone’s wasting their time, I’ll tell them.”

Does your decision to invest depend on the person AND the product?
“Absolutely. There are some people who make you think: ‘I just couldn’t work with you, you would drive me insane. It’s about having the right product, the right place, at the right time with the right person.”

Did you know any of the other Dragons before you joined?
“No, I didn’t. When I arrived I felt like the new girl, on my first day at school. It’s very competitive in the Den but, at lunchtime, we all get together and have a chat, so it’s great.”

Now that the Den has two females, do you and Deborah gang up on the boys?
“Not at all. I’ve worked with thousands of hauliers every day in my life so I’m quite used to working with men. So, quite the opposite really.”

How have you enjoyed doing the series so far?
“It’s been great fun and has presented me with lots of opportunities. I’m hoping the public will warm to me and that this series will be the best yet!”