Dragons’ Den is now into the 10th series, and is airing at 9pm on Sundays on BBC2. In these difficult economic times, the show offers an excellent opportunity for inventors and entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom who are keen to be the next Levi Roots or Kirsty Henshaw. The question is do you have what it takes to convince the Dragons’ that your idea or business is capable of justifying their investment?
Innovate Design have over the years seen a number of their clients appear on the show and are in a unique position to offer advice to inventors and entrepreneurs hoping to develop their ideas and then potentially pitch in the Dragons’ Den.
Kate Castle, Boginabag, talks about her experience
Who could forget Kate Castle’s pitch back in 2011 for her lightweight and portable camping toilet, which Innovate helped design, where she did enough to convince Dragon Theo Paphitis to invest £50,000 in her business? The BoginaBag brand is now thriving with Theo’s support and on sale throughout the UK with plans to go global. With this is mind, we thought, who else would be better to ask about what it takes to tame the Dragons.
Innovate Design: Kate, thank you for agreeing to chat with us, how has it been since your great success of winning investment from Theo Paphitis last year on Dragons’ Den?
Kate Castle: It’s been a really busy year for BoginaBag.
Innovate Design: How has your appearance on television affected the success of Boginabag?
Kate Castle: Dragons' Den is a huge platform and being on the show has been a great spring board for the product. It has enabled us to get into more retail outlets and large chains such as Millets. Alongside this we are looking at expanding into International markets.
Innovate Design: How have you been developing the business and how has Theo’s input helped?
Kate Castle: Theo has always expressed a need for the business to pull in more new products and expand its range. We have began to look at this and have a number of products in the pipeline.
Innovate Design: Why did you decide to apply to appear on Dragons’ Den?
Kate Castle: It is a big risk to go on Dragons' Den and absolutely terrifying, but if you have a product you believe in and a business plan that can withhold some pretty tough scrutiny then the rewards are fantastic.
Innovate Design: Any tips for filling out a successful application?
Kate Castle: Be honest and confident in what you say.
Innovate Design: What was the selection process after that?
Kate Castle: After that there is a phone interview and then if you are successful with that you do an audition to camera. The audition involves a three minute pitch followed by questioning.
Innovate Design: What did you do in preparation for entering the Den?
Kate Castle: I watched hours of episodes and took notes on where people succeeded and were they failed.
Innovate Design: What are you allowed to take in with you?
Kate Castle: The product and nothing else they ask for lots of detailed paperwork but you aren’t allowed to take any into the den.
Innovate Design: How long did it take to film your section?
Kate Castle: Almost two hours.
Innovate Design: Any top tips for other would-be Den challengers?
Kate Castle: You need to appear confident without being arrogant.
Innovate Design: Lastly, how terrifying was it getting upstairs and facing all of those Dragons’ for the first time. Are they as scary as they look?
Kate Castle: Yes! Having said that they are there because they want to make an investment there are no trick questions they just want people to demonstrate that they can make a business work.
Thank you Kate for taking the time to chat to us, we wish you continued success with Boginabag and look forward to hearing more about the other products you have in the pipeline. For more information on Boginabag go to www.boginabag.co.uk
Watch Kate's pitch to the Dragons'
Innovate have also had a number of their other clients enter the Den in the past. In Series 9 alone, Innovate saw two of their former clients enter the Den; Wendy Thompson with her idea for a rehabilitation swing, and Ian Wilson with his wind powered cycle lights both pitched their products in front of the ferocious panel and whilst they did not receive investment, found the experience to be an interesting one. Tony Curtis, a client of Innovate Product Design who also appeared in Series 8 of the show had this to say about the experience: “Think seriously about what it is you want from the Dragon’s and if they can provide it. Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it and realise too late that it’s not what you want. If you do decide to go for it then watch the Dragon’s Den a lot and try to answer every question they set to people in there about your own business and product.”
With the upcoming series starting in September, Innovate are looking forward to seeing more of their clients braving the Den. With it already confirmed to be Dragon Hilary Devey’s last series, one guarantee is that there are sure to be the usual fireworks. More than anything, Innovate will be looking forward to seeing the next generation of entrepreneurs and inventors pitting their wits against those furious Dragons!
Innovate always welcome new ideas that we can help to get in front of the Dragons. Why not download one of our free information packs from here and take your first steps towards getting into the Dragons’ Den.
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