Dragons' Den: I'm the new Dragon

Designer, Entrepreneur, Dragon

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When I first walked into the Den as a new Dragon I have to admit I was a little nervous. However once arriving on set and meeting Deborah Meaden and Piers Linney I felt at ease.

I already knew Duncan Bannatyne and Peter Jones so within a short period of time I felt at ‘home’.

I’m very happy to be taking part in Dragons’ Den’s 11th series and to be able to bring my creative background and share my design knowledge.

Not only that, but as I started my business at such an early age and understand the possible challenges I’ve learnt a lot along the way including marketing, branding and negotiation skills, which I would like to share with the entrepreneurs I work with.

Kelly wants to get to the bottom of some cellulite busting claims during a pitch

I trust my instincts and knew I would make the right choices with my investments.

I think the beauty of us five judges is that we all have our own strengths and expertise and complement each other well.

I was excited when Piers came into a deal with me and I’m enjoying working with him.

I did think that we would work well together: I was certainly keen to learn from him as the fast-moving technology industry fascinates me.

The new lift which delivers entrepreneurs in and out of the Den is a great addition.

Watching the entrepreneurs’ reaction as they walk in is so interesting and even more so as they leave - especially when they have just had an offer. You see their genuine joy.

As a viewer I really enjoyed watching all of the Dragons – each one is always unique.

Five unique Dragons: Kelly joins Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones and Piers Linney

Now as a Dragon myself I have learnt so much from each of them, even though we are competing for an investment.

We don’t always agree but more often than not I find myself in line with Deborah. We go after the same pitches, probably because we both invest in the person who is pitching and not just the business.

I don’t think the show puts people off starting up their own businesses at all. On the contrary, it inspires people.

Entrepreneurs are able to see others go on the show with interesting ideas and it helps them to believe in themselves.

It gives people that push to take the risk, something that being an entrepreneur is all about!

The realness of the show is always so captivating. It is an honest show, we have to be honest as investors.

We are not there to pretend when something clearly is not a good investment or, as often happens, the valuation is ridiculous and therefore you have no choice but to not invest.

Sometimes that is a shame. Equally there are businesses you simply don't want to invest in.

It’s a rollercoaster every day you are there. It is more than your average show, everyone is 100% involved.

Kelly Hoppen is the new Dragon on Dragons' Den.

Dragons' Den begins on Sunday, 11 August at 8pm on BBC Two and BBC Two HD. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

More on Dragons' Den

BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour: Kelly Hoppen interview

Telegraph: BBC's new Dragon Kelly Hoppen

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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