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Ex-Dragon's Den star backs Caribbean beauty businesswomen

WINNERS: Alicia and Joliette Thornthwaite with Theo Paphitis

CARIBBEAN INSPIRED hair and skincare entrepreneurs met former Dragons' Den Theo Paphitis after the millionaire tycoon endorsed their business.

Founders of small family company AfroDeity won the endorsement of the TV-friendly businessman back in the summer, and finally met him at an event in Birmingham last month.

In June, Alicia Thornthwaite, co-founder, pitched her business plan to Paphitis during ‘Small Business Sunday’, a social media initiative set up by Theo in October 2010.

Each week, Paphitis rewards small businesses that tweet him @TheoPaphitis and describe their business in one tweet including the hashtag #SBS.

Only tweets made in the time slot between 5pm and 7.30pm each Sunday count. AfroDeity captured Paphitis' attention and he re-tweeted Thornthwaite’s message to his 400,000 followers.

The benefits of ‘Small Business Sunday’ range from increased Twitter followers, to positive media publicity and increased sales.

Thornthwaite said: “Being a Small Business Sunday winner means belonging to a special group of entrepreneurs handpicked personally by Theo. Theo has inspired us all.”

AfroDeity features and retails Caribbean inspired natural hair and skin products and was set up Thornthwaite and her mother Joliette.

Their ultimate goal is to help small farmers in the Caribbean and reinvigorate the declining agricultural industry by bringing natural healing hair and skin products to the UK.

They hope to bring awareness of faming initiatives, particularly in Jamaica which encourage growing crops in rural areas.

Thornthwaite, who is a drug surveillance scientist, and her mother established AfroDeity on their knowledge of healing oils and butters, their interest in science and a commitment to the rural Caribbean.

AfroDeity's best-selling products include their own brand Joliette and the Fountain Jamaican Oils collection, which are made from ingredients grown in Jamaica.

On November 28, the mother and daughter team, were invited to the Small Business Sunday event in Birmingham to meet Pathitis personally.

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