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Is Dragon’s Den the new port of call for cash-strapped firms?

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"Dragon" Theo PaphitisWith banks hanging desperately onto funds and not lending, shareholders exhausted after a spate of cash calls and stock market flotations virtually non-existent, where’s a company exec to go for a bit of cash to fund a new venture?  The answer, it appears, could be Dragon’s Den, the BBC’s business entertainment programme. 

Usually the “Dragons”, five multi-millionaire investors whose experience ranges from hotels to telecoms and lingerie, have to decide whether or not to invest a couple of hundred thousand pounds to someone who has come up with a new idea in their back garden.

In an episode broadcast this weekend, however, Stephen Voller, the former chief executive of an AIM-listed company appeared in the Den to ask for a whopping 2.5 million pounds, the largest amount ever requested on the programme, for his new electric car venture.

While one dragon initially seemed keen, the others, Theo Paphitis in particular, roundly dismissed his idea as being far too risky, pointing out that his budget of 10 million pounds for development and launch was miniscule and would never produce a model worthy of competing with the big manufacturers. They stuck the boot in further by pointing out that when the car made to market in at least two years’ time it would already be outdated.

“Dragons’ Den” star Bannatyne says it’s hard to raise funds

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Duncan Bannatyne, the straight-talking Scottish entrepreneur and star of TV’s “Dragons’ Den” has been talking about how his business has been affected by the credit crunch.

“My businesses are up from last year, so we’re doing well and most small businesses I speak to are still actually doing quite well,” he told Digital Spy in an interview ahead of the launch of his new BBC2 show “Beat the Bank” on Thursday.

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