Into the 'Dragons Den'
6th April 2009
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Dragons' Den

Entrepreneurs from across the country once again have a chance to make their business dreams come true by appearing on Dragons' Den. If you're genuinely seeking investment for your business idea or invention, they'd like to hear from you.

In the most recent series, 14 entrepreneurs received offers of investment in the Den, with many more going on to find success even without the backing of the dragons.

Andrew Harsley from Lincolnshire secured funding of £150,000 to roll out his innovative new type of cable tie - the Rapstrap. With his new Dragon business partners, James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne, Andrew is reportedly about to put pen to paper on a £6m deal to distribute 400m units.

Previous business success stories in the Den include Imran Hakim who pitched his iTeddy, a teddy bear with an integrated multi-media player, securing an investment of £140,000 from Theo Paphitis and Peter Jones. With the Dragons' investment and expertise, the iTeddy was a smash hit in the UK in Christmas 2007, and in 2008 it went global. More than 40 countries around the world are selling iTeddy and Imran predicts that sales will exceed $20m.

And who could forget Brixton based Levi Roots who secured an investment of £50,000 for his secret recipe, Reggae Reggae Sauce. Just
3 ½ weeks after his appearance on the programme, his sauce launched in Sainsbury's' stores nationwide - and with the help of Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh, Levi has increased his product range to 8 sauces, and a Caribbean cook book and café. He says that thanks to the Dragons, he now has a business valued in the millions.

Of course, not everyone secures investment in the Den, but plenty go on to find success. After a really tough time in front of the dragons in 2008, inventor Natalie Ellis failed to convince them to back her non-spill dog bowl. But just three months later her company had sold almost 50,000 Road Refreshers. Likewise Rob Law from a previous series went on to rapidly grow his company - he now claims to have sold over 250,000 Trunkis. His 'luggage for little people' has won numerous awards and the product is available in over 30 countries worldwide.

The rules are simple: entrepreneurs can ask for cash investment in return for equity in their business. However, they must get at least the amount they ask for or they will walk away with nothing. The Dragons are prepared to listen to a pitch for any kind of business but they must be convinced that it will make money.

As demonstrated by the investments in the last six series, ideas, businesses and products that meet some or all of the following criteria stand a good chance of securing the Dragons' interest:

• The Unique Selling Point: a product that serves a need like nothing else.
• Scalability: something that can be up scaled to make real money.
• Route to Market: the clear way the product can be sold and marketed.
• Mutually Beneficial Arrangement: just what will the Dragons get out of it?
• Exit Strategy: a plan of how the entrepreneur/Dragon will exit and make money.

The BBC is currently searching for Britain's best entrepreneurs and will be auditioning throughout the coming months. They want to hear from anyone who thinks they've got what it takes to enter the Dragons' Den.

If you would like to download an application form visit where you can also find details of an exciting new opportunity to pitch to two new Online Dragons.

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