For start ups and those looking for investment, the BBC’s Dragon Den has always been a good idea of how to make the 3-minute pitch. While it is a world away from the reality of an investment pitch, it does have the basic ingredients, the what, the where, the how, the when and most importantly, the how much!
You may have heard the announcement that James Caan is to be replaced by Pall-Ex founder, Hilary Devey. But what made the BBC seek out Devey and invite her to join the exclusive panel and more importantly does she have what it takes to be a Dragon?
Hilary Devey certainly contrasts the former incumbent, James Caan. Where Caan has a polished, calm persona, Devey is more of a fire-cracker who says exactly what’s on her mind. But does she really have what it takes to be a mentor and investor?
Devey: The business women
Devey’s history is impressive. Having started Pall-Ex (palletised distribution network based in the UK) in 1996, she carved out a new business model in a male dominated industry. Doing this has certainly given her the experience to look for in a mentor; raising finance, potential customers not wanting to engage with the ‘newby’ and how to manage a growing company. She has also won a number of accolades in her own right too, such as the 2007 Ernst & Young UK Entrepreneur Award, Natwest Everywoman of the Year in 2008, Vitalise Business Woman of the Year twice – in 2004 and 2008 and Woman of Worth Businesswoman of the Year 2009
Devey: The investor
Devey is currently involved with two fast-growing young businesses: WOW Table Art and Pronto Sameday Couriers. This may not sound like much of a portfolio but at least it does indicate that Devey is willing to invest in areas outside of her expertise (albeit only once so far). But will this be an indication of her future investor potential? Only time will tell and for those entering the Den for the first time, we certainly hope Davey is there for the right reasons and not for self-publicity.
Devey: The philanthropist
Devey set up the innovative ‘Penny a Pallet’ scheme which donates money to her chosen charities on an ongoing basis and is also patron of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and The Stroke Association. Her previous TV appearances have included the Secret Millionaire where she gave away £145,000 to help families and businesses.
During tough economic times where banks are failing to invest in British small businesses, it is inspiring to see the publicity of Angel investments and how they can create and shape the next generation of UK entrepreneurs. These investors did it the hard way themselves first, they sold assets, lived a meager existence and worked tirelessly on their idea so remember, there is often more than one way to skin a cat.
Have your say: Leave a comment below, or tell @Accentis what you think about Hilary Devey’s appointment on Twitter. Follow us on twitter for the live commentary during the show use #dragonsden hashtag to follow the latest updates.