Dragons’ Den star Kelly Hoppen today joined the government’s entrepreneur-in-residence Simon Devonshire to kick off Btube Network, a new video-based business resource for startups.
The project, which will initially run through YouTube to broaden its reach, aims to provide long term, in depth advice to help SMEs take the “baby steps” they need to grow, says Hoppen.
While entrepreneurs must “believe in their idea 100%” this can sometimes tip into unrealistic expectations of how fast they can expand, she explains.
“A lot of people want instant fame and recognition,” says the self-made millionaire, hinting that she has become jaded with the “entertainment” aspect of the Dragons’ Den format and the instant success that it seems to promise viewers.
Instead, Btube Network will look look to give SMEs the tools they need to carve out their niche in a business landscape that is constantly adapting to disruptive technologies, to help them learn to trust their instincts, and to know when you ask for help and when to recognise that a business idea isn’t working at all.
“You need to be educated in your gut feeling,” added Peter Cowley, CEO of Spirit Digital Media.
Despite her disappointment in some startups she has invested in, which she says were happy to take the money while underestimating the value of the advice on offer, Hoppen is adamant that proper guidance from those that have successfully grown their own companies is the best way for a startups to achieve their goals.
“The biggest thing is to have a mentor,” she says. “I can’t step outside without people pitching an idea to me… but because I’m so passionate about it, I’m always trying to help and give advice!”