I would like to throw this out to the board to see if I am the only person who thinks that tonight's episode of Dragons Den displayed a complete abuse of their position as a high profile well watched programme on RTE, a semi state company, and also abused their position to endanger the ongoing liveliehood of a company which wasn't named on the programme, but alluded to ?
The background to this is the following.
Two women came on the programme seeking 24,000 euro for a 25% share in an events management company, who were planning one definite upcoming event.
Now, firstly I would like to know exactly how far back the programme was filmed before it was aired, and the reason will become clear in a moment.
Anyway, the planned event was a pregnancy and baby exhibition, which was going to be funded and run by the two women involved and which needed to get 100 exhibitors and 3000 paying punters through the doors, which the women had costed to realise a profit of 46,000 from the event.
It seemed like a decent idea and the women were enthusiatic, but alarm bells began to ring in my head.
The date of the planned exhibition was the 18th of April 2010... i.e. Sunday week
Now firstly I began to think.. hey, that's great publicity ... almost 10 minutes on national television advertising an event which will be on in only 10 days time, and another 10 minutes advertising for the event in the repeat at the weekend.. only 7 days before the event.
Anyways, when one of the Dragons asked the girls about the projected profit, i.e. the 46,000 he went on to say, would they be prepared to give him back his 24,000 investment the day after the event, to which they replied they would.
So I really started to think something was fishy here.
Another Dragon also asked was some other company involved in a similar event which the girls replied yes, and in his own words he asked "so we'd be taking their lunch, if we invested in this event with you", which again the girls said yes, that would be the case.
They also went on to tell the Dragons that they had planned another Pregnancy and Baby event later in the year, a two day event, which was projected to make 96,000 profit.
Anyways, in true Dragon from, 4 of them jumped in and invested a quarter each, but upped the share of equity they took from the girls to 50%, so I started to make a few calculations myself.
If they were looking for 50%, and want their investment back the day after the event, the projected profit from the event, 46,000 will return practically their whole investment, and still leave them with 50% of the company, and therefore the right to 50% of the profit on a subsequent event.
Now, as ordinary businesspeople, fair play to them. But, if that programme was shot a couple of months ago, then RTE aired the programme at the most optimum time on national television to ensure advertisement of the event, both on tonights programme and in the repeat.
It would also have given the girls involved a very nice sweetner to go to potential exhibitors over the past few weeks or months, by allowing them to tell the exhibitors that the event will be advertised on the programme twice in the week up to the event.
And, more importantly, it will also overshadow the other company involved in a similar event, thereby possibly putting their business at risk.
Is this kind of thing acceptable ?
Personally I think they are abusing their position by using the national broadcaster to so blatantly advertise a company which they are getting involved in, and which has the potential to make a very quick buck for them.
Any ideas ?