Co-founder of the ‘Innocent Drinks’ company Richard Reed has £1 million to invest in someone with a great business idea. Sound like another BBC show? He gives 500 hopefuls £100 each, and asks them to make a profit in whatever way they can, as long as they film themselves doing it. The entrepreneurs get a stand each in a hall to present their idea, while Richard has a look around, and picks his top three shortlist. He says “Anyone can run a successful business. All you need is a good idea, and to work really hard.”
He speaks to Porridge Power first, a healthy porridge fast food stall. The scarily enthusiastic lady managed to impressively make over £600 with her investment. Lazy Camper make a complete camping solution pack designed for festivals, and are currently in talks with Amazon to stock their product.
We also see the youngest applicant who is selling Christmas jumpers that even your gran wouldn’t buy you, and someone who has “lots of followas on Twitta”. Perhaps one of the worst ideas is Squick, a paper cup with a built in bag, expanding the volume of the cup for you to vomit in. A human/dog cafe doesn’t seem to get much attention! An interesting duo named Poietic Studios make interactive sculptures, including a floating ball display, and a tall sculpture that fills with liquid, and uses gravity to pour a drink.
19 year old Jacob and Andy’s Lazy Camper are first on the short-list, joined by Poietic Studios who demonstrate some weird inventions including the Nervous Toaster, and show us a ‘rectal insertion’, a mould to shape your dog’s poo! They are followed by Ben and Jez with their custom coloured bicycle company Mango Bikes.
All three companies suffer from teething problems, including Lazy Camper ordering 500 tents, which arrive from China of a poor quality, and they call on the help of mum to sew new straps on. Mango Bikes have website teething problems, and instead of creating a commercially viable teapot like they had discussed, Poietic Studios focus their money on the drinks dispenser.
In the end, he only invests in Mango bikes, despite his initial concerns about the logistics of the business. My initial concerns about the show was that it would be too much like Dragons’ Den, but it seems much more personal, going into more depth with each business and its progress, instead of the quick “I’m out”. Reed also seems like a nice guy, trying to be critical without being nasty to increase viewing numbers.
Be Your Own Boss is in BBC3, Wednesdays at 9:00pm
Watch Episode one on BBC iPlayer here