Go to the bank, not the Dragons' Den
By Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones
Series 10 of Dragons’ Den has started its weekly humiliation of so-called entrepreneurs. As a ratings puller it has done well for BBC 2 and now has a prime time 9pm Sunday slot. It has made stars of the Dragons and has given them a God like status amongst the public. For the Dragons it has been a great success, most of them enjoying lucrative spin-offs.
For many of their victims however the programme has been more of a destructive force. Under the pressure of the cameras people crumble, make fools of themselves and more often than not show...
...they are out of their depth.
The programme's makers justify the airing of such human frailty as an education in what not to do to get finance in the tough world of Angel investment. As noble as that may be, like all programmes of this genre I think it is more to do with the titillation and entertainment of the audience than an education in the benefits or pitfalls of seeking funding.
I used to be a producer director in television so I talk with some authority on this subject. The programme makers’ allegiance is to the audience and those appearing in front of the camera are caste and manipulated to fit into a role that will elicit a favourable response from the audience.
For example last week’s episode had a rather over-enthusiastic pensioner, well out of her depth trying to raise funding for a local dining club. A very entertaining lady but she didn’t understand the first principles of business. Another was Sandy, a chap who arrived in a kilt a funky hat and a beachcomber attitude to life.
He wanted to raise finance for his idea of making bar furniture out of sand. Again entertaining but... continued on page two >