News

March 18, 2011 - Anonymous

Dragons’ Den inspires entrepreneurs, claims government report

One in five people want to start their own business after watching television programmes such as Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice, a new report by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has found, writes Clare Bullock.

The Impact of Media on Entrepreneurial Intentions and Actions report found that media portrayal of the business world was most inspiring for viewers aged under 30 – with almost half of men and more than a quarter of women wanting to start their own businesses after watching such shows.

Business and enterprise minister, Mark Prisk, said: “We need to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, showing them the ambitions they can realise in business. The media can play a crucial role in this.”

National Federation of Enterprise Agencies chief executive, George Derbyshire, said that although TV programmes helped inspire would-be entrepreneurs, they should be balanced with more practical advice. “It’s no good promoting enterprise unless you provide the practical support which people need to turn interest and intentions into activity,” he said.

“We need to increase the number of people who think that starting their own business is a good thing to do and that they would have the skills to do it, then they need practical help to develop the skills they need to do so,” added Derbyshire.

“Watching Dragon’s Den won’t teach you to put a cashflow forecast together,” he said. “The TV programmes are helping, but you have to balance the equation. It should be like a cookery programme – if a TV chef says look at this pork pie, you and I say ‘that looks lovely, but how do I bake one?’ Equally, if Delia turned up with just a list of ingredients, that would be tedious.”

Director of small product-design firm Radius Creative, Mike Wilshaw, said: “TV shows have had quite a big impact, especially as the recession has made people think about different ways of making money and exploiting an idea.

“But if you just look at the media you can get a very unbalanced view, or go in with a cavalier attitude that people can make money quickly, which is often not the case,” he said.

“The programmes are essentially a spark of inspiration to drive people to think and believe that there could be a future in being an entrepreneur or an inventor,” said Wilshaw. “The UK really needs that because small businesses are the lifeblood of our country.”