Friday, 22 January 2010

Speaking - Dragons' Den

Dragons' Den is now a popular TV show all over the world. And guess what? You can use the format for a winning lesson - I always find that it's great fun and the students really get into it.

So what do you need? Below is a brief explanation of the show, followed by a role play activity and the typical questions the dragons ask. Students take it in turns to be the dragons or the people pitching to the dragons.

Alternatively you can show them the 2 minute introduction to the show to establish the context. Video here. Full text below.

If you want a lead-in you can get the students to discuss in groups the best inventions of the 20th Century. Then they can compare their list with the British Science Association's one at the bottom of this posting.

Dragons' Den Introduction Video - Full Text

These are the dragons. The multi-millionaire investors on their way to the den. There tonight they will make or break the dreams of dozens of budding entrepreneurs and inventors.

- You don't have a business plan at all

- You need to close this down fast

- I'm lost for words, I really am

- Everybody's got the right to be a little wacky but I thinking you're abusing that right now

Together the dragons are worth over half a billion pounds. They're powerful individuals who've built up their own business empires from scratch.

So how did they make their fortunes?

Peter Jones' remarkable business career began when he was just 16 and set up his own tennis academy. Today his £250 million empire includes leisure, telecoms and media businesses.

Deborah Meaden made her fortune in the holiday and leisure industry in the West Country, where she's just sold a stake in one of her companies in a £30 million deal.

Glaswegian entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne is worth over £170 million and currently owns Bannatyne's health clubs, casinos and hotels.

Theo Paphitis made his fortune by buying failing companies and transforming them into thriving businesses, including La Senza lingerie, Partners and Ryman's the high street stationers.

Australian born Richard Farleigh made millions as an investment banker and hedge fund manager and is now renowned as a prolific investor in UK start up companies.

In the den the dragons are ready to back the right business with their own money but tonight will anyone persuade them to invest?

Explanation of show

People who come on the show 'pitch' their businesses ideas or inventions to five wealthy entrepreneurs - the Dragons.

They must state how much money they want from the Dragons.

In exchange they offer 'equity' in their business - a percentage which they can negotiate with the Dragons.

The Dragons ask them questions to decide if they want to invest

If the Dragons want to invest they make an offer. If they don't they say, 'I'm out''

Role play

Divide the class. How you do this depends on the number of students. You could have 2 groups - one group of dragons and one group of pitchers. Alternatively in a bigger class you could have 3/4/5 dragons and then have the remainder of the class in groups of 2. They can then take turns to pitch their ideas to the dragons and the dragons can decide on the best one. See below for more detail and some typical questions that the Dragons ask on the show.

NB Don't give the Dragons the questions straight away - let them brainstorm their own ideas first. Then you can prompt them if necessary.

Group A

- You need investment for your new business idea
- You need to come up with a business or invention that you will 'pitch' to the dragons
- You need to decide how much investment you need and how much equity (percentage of your business) you are prepared to give away
- You need to think about your idea - think about how you would answer some of the questions below
- At the end of the question session you need to decide if you want to accept any of the offers
- You can negotiate the equity you are prepared to give away with the dragons
- If you agree on a deal with a dragon, shake their hand

Group B

- You are the Dragons
- The other group will pitch their idea or invention to you
- You have to ask them questions about their product to check if it is a good investment for you
- Brainstorm some questions so you are prepared for the pitch
- At the end of the pitch each dragon decides whether to invest or not
- If you want to invest you can try and negotiate the equity (percentage of the business that you want for your money)
- If you agree on a deal say 'Congratulations' and shake them by the hand
- If you don't want to invest say 'I'm out' and give a reason why

Typical Dragon Questions

Why do people need your product?
What will you use the money for?
What is your target market? / Who are your customers?
Where will you sell your product? Will you sell it online?
How much will it cost to make?
How much will you sell it for?
How much money do you expect to make?
How will you market your product - advertising/ publicity stunt?
Do you have any competitors?
When will I get my money back?
Tell me about your background

British Science Association's top 10 inventions that changed the world

1. GPS Technology
2. The Sony Walkman
3. The Bar code
4. TV Dinners
5. PlayStation
6. Social Networking
7. Text messages
8. Electronic Money
9. Microwaves (not the ovens)
10. Trainers

1 comment:

  1. This is a really comprehensive lesson thanks!
    I'm going to use it tomorrow with a group of teenagers at summer school I hope it goes well.