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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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BBC unveils two new Dragons

Dragons' Den online: Shaf Rasul and Julie Meyer

The BBC announced today the identities of two new Dragons who will preside over an online-only version of BBC Two's Dragons' Den.

Shaf Rasul and Julie Meyer, two highly successful entrepreneurs, will give Britain's budding business men and woman the chance to secure up to £50,000 of investment for their ideas.

Anyone with a must-have product or top-notch business idea can visit bbc.co.uk/dragonsden to apply. The most innovative and entertaining ideas will be selected by the BBC to be pitched to the online Dragons. These encounters, capturing all the drama and tension that are the hallmark of the show, will be available exclusively online from Monday 30 March and will be updated weekly.

Dominic Byrne, newsreader from The Chris Moyles Show (BBC Radio 1), will host the online Dragons' Den, interviewing the entrepreneurs before and after they pitch, chatting to the Dragons and finding out what goes on behind the scenes when the cameras stop rolling.

Julie Meyer is known for supporting internet and technology entrepreneurs over the past ten years in the UK, having helped UK hits like lastminute.com and WGSN secure funding, and having advised Skype and Espotting early in their development. She has backed many growing tech and media firms including SpinVox, Monitise, SliceThePie and Zopa.

She founded First Tuesday in 1998, and led a roll out of the company to include 500,000 entrepreneurs across the world, groups of which networked each first Tuesday of the month. First Tuesday was sold at the height of the market for millions. Julie founded Ariadne Capital in December 2000 and launched Entrepreneur Country, the start-up community in 2008. Julie is a World Economic Forum Global Leader for Tomorrow and an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Edinburgh-based Shaf Rasul established optical-media distribution company, E-Net Computers Limited, in 2000 and it is now the largest storage media distributor in Europe and one of the biggest buyers of optical storage products in the world. As well as expanding E-Net Computers, Shaf has developed a venture capital investment portfolio, worth in the region of £30million, which focuses on property, asset management and internet technology.

Shaf Rasul said: "I have always taken an innovative approach to my business interests and it is extremely exciting to be invited to join the BBC in launching this successful show to an online audience. I am a firm believer that it is people who make a success of their business and I look forward to identifying opportunities to provide the funding and operational support to take a business to the next level."

Julie Meyer said: "I've worked to demystify entrepreneur-led economic growth since I arrived in the UK ten years ago, through my businesses and my writing and speaking. The opportunity to align with Dragon's Den interested me as continuing to peel back the onion for the mass market in terms of what it takes to build businesses is one which I couldn't pass up."

Dominic Byrne said: "I'm a huge fan of the TV show so to get a chance to be working on Dragons' Den online is really exciting. I'll be talking to all the entrepreneurs finding out how they got the idea for their invention and if they get a 'yes' in the den how that might change their lives. I'll be chatting to the Dragons too and I'm hoping to have a bit of fun with them. Oh ... I'd also like one of them to explain to me what a ratchet system is. No idea at the moment."

Mario Dubois, executive producer of Dragons' Den online, said: "We know that the Dragons' Den brand is massively successful as a television show, it's synonymous with original ideas generation and the world of business. The Dragons' Den online opportunity is a significant brand extension from TV into the digital arena, which enables the audience to take part and contribute. I believe that it is a major step forward for content on the web as well as using the functionality of the web in a new and creative way."

The online Dragons is a BBC Multiplatform Production.

NC

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