Of course there is no logical reason why the BBC should have any natural empathy with a small business or entrepreneur. On the one hand, there is the motivated individual risking his wealth and financial security on a product or idea that he believes will add value to peoples lives.
On the other hand, there is the BBC- a huge bureaucratic organisation insulated from the realities of commercial life by reason of its pact with the government that ensures its income will be extracted from the population of the UK on pain of imprisonment!!!
The E Rider is a highly innovative product and we applied to participate on Dragons Den early in 2014. For several months we went through a variety of due diligence hoops relating to the company and product. There were endless forms to be filled in about secrecy and security and, at one point, I was compelled to repeat a series of undertakings whilst being filmed. This made me rather feel as if I were participating in a Stalinist show trial!!!
Of course the day of filming was somewhat nerve racking. I have never much enjoyed public speaking and here was the opportunity to make a fool of yourself knowing that everyone you have ever met might be watching.
In fact, the pitch went very well. The Dragons were heavily made up for the TV cameras which made them look like caricatures of themselves – comical rather than scary. Perhaps I didn’t explain it sufficiently well but it was disappointing that none of the dragons really “got it”. I felt a bit like this man!!!
Perhaps it was too much to expect the “multi-millionaires” to empathise with customers looking to save a few hundred pounds a year on their transport bills and I left the den with the odious Duncan Bannatyne shouting “on your bike”, which felt a little humiliating.
However E Rider has traded very successfully over the last year and, in retrospect, I am very glad there was no investment. Overall I have to say that I’m glad to have had the experience of participating in the show however it is not one I would rush to repeat.