ENTREPRENEURS FEEL THE HEAT OF THE DRAGONS THIS JULY ON BBC AMERICA
The award-winning competition series Dragons' Den gives would-be entrepreneurs a chance of a lifetime and these are the most crucial three minutes of their life - to pitch their ideas to five self-made millionaires, aka the Dragons, who have the connections and the cash to make their business plan a reality. The Den is open for business and these multi-millionaire investors are ready to back the best ideas and innovations with hundreds of thousands of their own cash.
Dragons' Den premieres Thursday, July 10, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Host Evan Davis, Co-Anchor of BBC Radio 4's Today and former BBC economics editor, talks with participants before and after they pitch everything from a device that rocks babies to sleep, to a recyclable lawn chair, to umbrella vending machines in London's Tube stations.
Since there is no such thing as easy money, participants have to prove their ideas mean big business - especially if they're going to get the Dragons to invest money out of their own pockets. With their dreams in the balance, business becomes personal.
The intimidating team of Dragons include Californian Doug Richard - who made his riches leading technology and software ventures, Simon Woodroffe - the man behind the conveyor belt sushi bar Yo! Sushi, Duncan Bannatyne - an entrepreneur with an estimated worth of around �200m, Peter Jones - considered to be one of the UK's leading young businessmen, Rachel Elanugh - creator of Red Letter Days which offers �gift experiences' such as driving grand prix cars or flying in jet aircraft, and Theo Paphitis - who's made a career at turning ailing retail businesses into successful ones.
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From California, Doug, founder and Chairman of Library House, has more than 18 years experience in the development and leadership of technology and software ventures, both in the U.S. and UK. In addition to his Library House involvement, he is founder and vice-chairman of Cambridge Angels, co-founder and chairman of Hotxt and chairman of the Conservative Party Small Business Task Force. Between 1996 and 2000 he was President and CEO of Micrografx, a U.S. publicly quoted software company which he sold to Corel Corporation in 2000. Prior to that he also founded and subsequently sold two other companies - Visual Software and ITAL Computers. Doug holds a BA in Psychology from University of California at Berkeley and a Juris Doctor at the School of Law, University of California at Los Angeles.
One of seven children, Duncan's childhood was blighted by poverty and he was determined from an early age to make his fortune. He began his entrepreneurial life by buying and selling cars but the acquisition of an ice cream van changed the course of his life and from those he switched to nursing homes which made him a multi-millionaire. In more recent years he has built up a chain of health clubs and gyms called Bannatyne's. He's estimated to be worth around �200m. Duncan holds an OBE and was recently awarded an honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) from Glasgow Caledonian University for services to business and charity.
Simon Woodroffe (Episodes 1-6)
Simon left school at the age of 16 and spent 30 years in the entertainment business. His production companies in London and Los Angeles designed and staged concerts for many artists during the �70's and �80's, including The Moody Blues, Madness, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder and George Michael. In 1997, Simon founded YO! Sushi, a conveyor belt sushi bar. The first restaurant opened in London and became an overnight phenomenon. The group has now grown to 36 restaurants operating in three countries. YO! Japan, a fashion range and RadiYO!, an entrepreneurial podcast series are operating and YO! Zone, the spa concept and YO! Home are in development.
Peter's entrepreneurial journey started early when, at the age of 16, he founded a tennis academy. He then set up a computer business among various other business interests. At the age of 28, Peter joined corporate giant Siemens Nixdorf and ran its computer business in the UK. In 1998, he founded Phones International Group, a telecommunications firm that now generates revenues in excess of �200m. His business interests range from telecoms, leisure, publishing as well as television and media. Peter has won many national awards, including Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001.
Having started her working life as an office assistant, at the age of 24 she created the market leading experiences brand Red Letter Days on a shoestring budget from the front room of her home. Red Letter Days went on to generate over �100million in turnover in the 16 years that she ran it, and in doing so pioneered the UK's �250 million experiences sector. Rachel now acts as mentor and consultant to a number of small businesses and launched her own unique Entrepreneurial Profiling system at the Business Start Up Show at London's Excel in April 2007.
Theo Paphitis (Episodes 7-12)
Theo started his career at the age of 16 as a tea boy/filing clerk with Lloyds of London insurance brokers before making his first foray into retail at the age of 18. At the age of 20 he moved into finance - property and corporate, specializing in turnarounds, setting up his own company at the age of 23. He has turned ailing companies like Movie Media Sports, Ryman's, Contessa and La Senza lingerie chains into successful and profitable retail businesses. During this time, he spent eight years as Chairman of Milwall FC soccer team, taking it out of administration, into the Championship and to the FA Cup Final. He was also a Director of the Football League and an FA Councillor.
Evan Davis - Host
Evan joined BBC Radio 4's Today program in April 2008 - the BBC's leading daily news show on radio - following a six and a half year stint as the BBC's economics editor. On top of his duties at Today, he also presents The Bottom Line, a weekly discussion program on Radio 4. Before his promotion to BBC's economics editor, Evan worked for BBC Two's Newsnight program from 1997 to 2001 and as a general economics correspondent from 1993. Evan worked at the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the London Business School prior to joining the BBC as an economics correspondent in 1993. He has won several awards including the Work Foundation's Broadcast Journalist of the Year award in 1998, 2001 and 2003, and the Harold Wincott Business Broadcaster of the Year award in 2001 and 2005. Evan studied philosophy, politics and economics at St John's College Oxford and has a Masters of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Pitches for the Dragons this week include: a revolutionary machine to help babies sleep, a music festival and an umbrella machine.
Episode One premieres Thursday, July 10, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Pitches for the Dragons this week include: a wobbly table fix, luxury organic aromatherapy and a styling service for female professionals.
Episode Two premieres Thursday, July 17, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Pitches for the Dragons this week include: timeshares in a Scottish castle, a hanging sofa and a recyclable lawn chair.
Episode Three premieres Thursday, July 24, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Pitches for the Dragons this week include: an odor eating mat for dogs, a tattoo removal system and a new souvenir board game.
Episode Four premieres Thursday, July 31, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Pitches for the Dragons this week include: a revolutionary new PC style, a new plant watering system and innovative jewelry designs.
Episode Five premieres Thursday, August 7, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Pitches for the Dragons this week include: a new form of advertising in cabs and a snow-bike.
Episode Six premieres Thursday, August 14, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Theo Paphitis replaces Simon Woodroffe on the panel of Dragons. Entrepreneurs this week pitch an olive dispenser, monogrammed underwear and wireless internet for sailors.
Episode Seven premieres Thursday, August 21, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Pitches for the Dragons this week include: a water saving device for toilets, a new puzzle, and a free phone directory service.
Episode Eight premieres Thursday, August 28, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Pitches for the Dragons this week include: a student accommodations website, new fitness supplements and a new baby product line.
Episode Nine premieres Thursday, September 4, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Pitches for the Dragons this week include: a Japanese grill set, a new pooper-scooper and a building structure to be used in war zones.
Episode Ten premieres Thursday, September 11, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Pitches for the Dragons this week include: a Bollywood board game, a new circus company and a special light bulb for the elderly.
Episode Eleven premieres Thursday, September 18, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Pitches for the Dragons this week include: an exercise simulator, a garment to train breathing muscles and meditation CDs for children.
Episode Twelve premieres Thursday, September 25, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.