This essay is about five entrepreneurs (the Dragons) which all star in the BBC2 series, Dragon’s Den. They are; Richard Farleigh, Deborah Meaden, Duncan Bannatyne, Peter Jones and Theo Phaphitis. Dragon’s Den has just finished their third series. Dragon’s Den is a show about ordinary people with ideas which they think could make them rich. Each would be entrepreneur pitches their business idea for financial funding to the dragons. The entrepreneurs need to use their persuasion, reasoning and presentation skills to find backing in their business. In return for funding the entrepreneur will offer an equity which is a share of the company. At the beginning the entrepreneur states how much money he wants. If he doesn’t get that exact money, he would leave with nothing.
Richard Farleigh has a very interesting background. He was born in a small town in Victoria, the son of a violent and alcoholic sheep shearer. At the age of three, he was put into care with his ten brothers and sisters. Farleigh was described as “backward” by one teacher but went on to win a scholarship to the University of New South Wales, where he gained a first class degree in economics. He quickly forged a successful banking career in Australia and Bermuda and had made enough money by the age of 34 to “retire” to Monte Carlo. Since then he has been semi retired operating as a business ‘angel’, backing new early stage companies mainly in the United Kingdom. Richard plays chess as a hobby, and is an internationally ranked player who has represented Bermuda and Monaco at the chess Olympics.
Richard is a new dragon who joined this series. He is an Australian multi millionaire and has possibly invested in more new UK companies than any other British investor. When he invests in a firm he checks the technology, the competition, customer endorsements and management teams. Richard says: “What’s exciting about Dragons’ Den is the opportunity to come into contact with new entrepreneurs with innovative fresh ideas and hopefully uncover the next big thing!” A small amount of the companies which he is backing currently are Afa Systems, Ceravision, Mathengine, Palmchip and Vocalis.
He first made his millions by trading the world’s financial market. The business markets he is involved in currently are; Software, biotechnology, different diseases and conditions, semiconductors, retail, Nanotechnology, food scanning, radiation detecting, drug discovery and research, mobile antennas and electro mechanical devices. Some of these are Oxford spin outs. Richard has also written a book called Taming The Lion – 100 Secret Strategies For Investing. In this he has ten headings each with ten rules some of his rules are; Fear the market, Respect the market not the experts, Manage and embrace risk, Assess risk and then double it, You are unlikely to out analyse the analysts, Good products don’t always sell, A price is an average of possibilities, Do not use price targets or time limits, Know when to stay out of the market and Negotiation is an art.
Deborah Meaden, born in February 1959, is a British multi millionairess who launched her very own glass and ceramics export company a while after completing Business College before setting up one of the first Stefanel Fashion franchises in the fashion franchises in the United Kingdom. The first thing she done before she opened her own company, was getting a job as a sales room model in a fashion house; and a few months later, she moved to Italy. After a few successful businesses in leisure and retail, Deborah became the Managing Director of her family’s holiday park business – Weststar Holidays.
She then acquired the major shareholding in a management buyout and later sold the company in a deal worth thirty three million, while keeping a twenty three percent of the business. She still remains as an active role at Weststar but is using more time to find good investment opportunities, the first of which has been a market research company. Deborah was also listed amongst the United Kingdom’s top 50 Female Entrepreneurs 2005. Deborah says: “It can be difficult to find investment for a new business, particularly one which is highly innovative or breaks new ground. Dragons’ Den offers a great opportunity to new entrepreneurs and I’m really looking to finding some exciting new businesses in which to invest my money.”
Duncan Bannatyne was brought up in Clydebank where he suffered relative poverty. He joined the navy while still in his teens before being dishonourably discharged for almost throwing a senior officer of a vessel. He spent his twenties moving from job to job, he went to the island of Jersey where he met his first wife. He then moved to Northern England. He bought an ice cream van for 450. This expanded to four vans with a turnover of ï¿½300,000. He sold this and founded a fitness club due to an experience with a leg injury. Now he has more than sixty health clubs called Bannatyne’s. It is the largest independently owned health club operator in the UK and offers state of the art facilities. Since then he has opened up a bar, a hotel and is starting housing. For housing, he has got planning permision to build. He is building 115 houses and apartments altogether in Stockton-on-tees, Dumfries, Mansfield and Chafford.
His estimated worth is over 170 million pounds. He is also going to be married again soon and has two children from his ex wife and four children with his fiancee. Duncan also likes to spend time with his family or doing his hobbies which are running, climbing, water skiing and scuba diving. He spends time working with charitable organisations, such as UNICEF and Scottish International Relief. He also established the Bannatyne Hospice for Children with HIV and AIDS in Romania. Duncan has also written a book called ‘Anyone Can Do It’. It tells us about the extraordinary tale of from rags to riches. 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. He was also awarded North Region Entrepreneur of the Year 2003 and Master Entrepreneur Of The Year 2003 for the North Region.