Trends & Features

Sport Relief funding opportunity

This year Sport Relief is giving entrepreneurs from across the country an extra chance to make their business dreams come true by hosting a special edition of Dragons’ Den. Whether you’ve invented a new sport, created the ultimate sporting product or have a fantastic sport-related business, the BBC would like to hear from you.

In the most recent series 14 entrepreneurs received offers of investment from the Dragons, with many more going onto find success even without their backing.

Previous success stories include Imran Hakim, who pitched his iTeddy, a teddy bear with an integrated multi-media player, and secured 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 during Christmas 2007, and this year the product has gone global. More than 40 countries around the world are now selling iTeddy and Hakim predicts that sales of the product will exceed $20million.

Of course, not everyone secures investment in the Den, but plenty go onto find success. After a tough time in front of the Dragons in 2008, inventor Natalie Ellis failed to convince them to back her non-spill dog bowl. However, 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 and his ‘luggage for little people’ has won numerous awards.

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 for this special edition it must be directly sport or fitness related, and the Dragons 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 upscaled to make real money.

• Route to market – a 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. If you would like an application form email, call 0871 200 3003 or visit

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