The team behind www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk the largest independently owned small business organisation in the UK with over 350,000 members – have conducted a snap poll to nearly 800 business owners and senior management of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to gauge their reaction to the latest episode of Dragons’ Den.
The sixth episode of season 20 saw Chris and Peter Maxted’s Dog-G8, Lucy Norris’ Second Hand Styling UK, Cristian Brownlee and Matthew Walker’s Adapt Ability and Richard Johnson’s Street Food Ventures face the wrath of the Dragons. Cristian and Matthew managed to walk away with three Dragons on board, and business owners were most impressed by their pitching of the world’s only hands-free, self-balancing wheelchair (61%).
Despite an incredibly high price point – an ‘Omeo’ chair currently costs £17,630 on Adapt Ability’s website – Sara Davies, Steven Bartlett and Touker Suleyman all agreed to collectively invest £40,000 total to the tune of 5% equity each.
Father and son duo Peter and Chris received the second most votes for the episode’s best pitch, garnering 38% of tallies from respondents – a result Deborah Meaden, who struck a deal to invest £50,000 for a 20% stake of Dog-G8 but opted to not make an offer for Adapt Ability, would likely agree with. Though, a cynical or pet-loving spectator might suggest that Hudson the beagle slightly skewed the results.
At the time of the episode’s filming, Peter noted that Dog-G8 had posted three videos on TikTok which had generated 27.7 million views combined. The account now has 32 videos, eight of which have over one million views, and over 73,000 followers.
When asked if TikTok is currently the most important social media platform to advertise a business, respondents still voted in favour of Instagram (35%). However, amid the backdrop of Elon Musk’s sweeping changes to Twitter, TikTok placed second (30%) ahead of the blue brand (29%).
When it came to the unfortunate honour of the episode’s worst pitch, former food journalist and restaurant critic Richard was the unwilling recipient. Despite Richard’s apparent love for flirty, low-commitment dining and delicious offerings, there was mass confusion surrounding what exactly he was pitching for.
Richard’s vague-at-best pitch, asking for £60,000 in exchange for 9% of Street Food Ventures, was outright labelled as “awful” by Peter Jones, mirroring the 78% of worst pitches votes handed out by respondents.
Last but not least, former television presenter and fashion correspondent Lucy’s subscription-based retail model sparked conversations among business owners. Lucy had only founded Second Hand Styling UK four months prior to appearing on the episode, seeking a £70,000 investment in exchange for 12% of the business to help find a permanent space, rather than running pop-up shops.
However, 41% of respondents felt that Lucy’s business model would have been stronger if the business was fully online. Of the remaining respondents, 32% stated that it would not have made a significant difference to her pitch, while 27% felt that her plan to seek a permanent space was fine.
Richard Osborne, founder and CEO of www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk said, “Despite two deals being struck during the episode, it felt like there was a lot of room for discussion surrounding all four of the businesses.
“Whether it was the price of Cristian and Matthew’s admittedly amazing hands-free wheelchairs, or mystery of Richard’s business model, it was great to see so much back-and-forth with all five of the Dragons.”