Late last week, the surprise news was revealed by Theo Paphitis that he would be leaving Dragons’ Den to focus on his retail business interests. Theo, who has appeared in the last nine series of the hit BBC show, revealed via Twitter that he would not be renewing his contract by saying: ‘Tough decision to take but for the final time “I Am Out!”’ with a link to a formal press release. Theo became the second Dragon in a year, after Hilary Devey to announce that they were cutting ties with the Den meaning that there are two seats available. The question is, who is going the fill them?
The debate has already began in earnest and we have our own thoughts as well. The likes of Richard Reed, the founder of Innocent Drinks is a popular choice, as are the likes of the founder of underwear company Ultimo, Michelle Mone and retail magnate Philip Green. More left-field suggestions include owner of the Virgin brand Richard Branson, and one of Dragons’ Den most popular success stories, Reggae Reggae sauce founder Levi Roots. However, a recent Radio Times survey revealed that the most popular choice was Theo’s mysterious spouse, known only as “Mrs P”. Little is known about Mr Paphitis’ other half, least of all in terms of her business acumen, but still she seems to be the choice of Radio Times readers!
Here at Innovate, we thought we would put in a few alternative suggestions of our own…Perhaps ones that are yet to be considered! In our opinion, no-one epitomises entrepreneurship in the UK more than founder of the Dyson empire James Dyson. Whilst there are few indications that Mr Dyson would be interested in the high profile seat in the Den, there can be little doubt that he has done a great deal to inspire and support entrepreneurs and inventors in the UK. In 2002, the James Dyson Foundation was set up to encourage young people in the UK to study and understand engineering. Mr Dyson has also frequently commented on the need to stimulate innovation and design in order to help the UK economy to recover. The only question would be if he would be happy being in the public eye and also if he would be able to balance his commitments with the Dyson brand with which Mr Dyson still maintains a very hands on approach.
An alternative to Michelle Mone would be celebrity chef and CEO of Norwich City Football Club Delia Smith CBE. As a business-savvy and at times outspoken public figure, there would be little doubt that Delia would offer some real spice in the Den. Also in keeping with the football theme, another couple of interesting alternatives would be Lord Alan Sugar’s Business Advisor on BBC show The Apprentice Karren Brady, or former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan, both of whom who would be unlikely to have any problems dealing with the spotlight.
Other suggestions have been Julie Meyer from the online version of the Dragons’ Den, telecoms magnate John Caudwell and even Lord Alan Sugar himself! Whoever finally takes their places in those chairs in the Den come the next series, there can be little doubt that they will have a tough task in replacing Theo. We have loved watching Theo over the years and our clients Kate Castle (www.boginabag.co.uk) and Dustin Toland (www.gigwam.co.uk) were fortunate to have received offers from him. Hopefully the new Dragons will have the opportunity to see more of Innovate’s clients try their luck next series of the Den.
So it’s over to you! Who do you think the new Dragons will be?
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