The project so far - December 2009


In September, the project team carried out an interview with Julie Meyer, who is one of the leading champions for entrepreneurship in Europe and who appears as a Dragon in the online version of Dragons’ Den (which has also recently been broadcast on BBC2). American by birth, Meyer has over twenty years investment and advisory experience helping start-up businesses in Europe and is the founder and CEO of Ariadne Capital. She is also the founder of Entrepreneur Country, co-founder of First Tuesday and contributes a weekly column to London’s City A.M.

The team also interviewed the entrepreneur Claire Young, who was a finalist in the BBC’s 2008 series of The Apprentice. Following the show’s broadcast, Young has successfully managed a media and business career, commenting regularly on business matters for radio and television along with running a thriving consultancy and venue management company. One of her main passions involves the development of young entrepreneurs and she has been involved in projects such as National Apprentice Week, National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurs and the Make Your Mark campaign.


In September, Raymond Boyle attended the 4th European Conference on Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which was held at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. Raymond presented a paper entitled ‘Representations of Entrepreneurship on the Small Screen: How Programmes Such as The Apprentice Work to Normalise and Encourage Entrepreneurial Activity in Society’ which was extremely well-received by delegates. Conference proceedings and abstracts can be found here.

In November, Raymond was also invited to deliver a paper on the project to Film, Media and Journalism research students at the University of Stirling as part of the department’s research seminar programme.

In January, the project team will attend the 2010 MeCCSA conference at the London Shool of Economics to present a paper entitled ‘The Television Entrepreneurs: Audience Engagement with The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den’. This paper wll draw on material that has emerged from audience focus groups carried out in Glasgow and London and will examine the various ways in which viewers engage with the range of business-related programming on television. The full programe for the conference can be accessed here.

Focus Groups:

September also saw the project team succesfully complete one of the key elements of the two-year project by carrying out audience focus groups in both Glasgow and London. The sessions attracted a high level of interest and the participants who attended made an extremely valuable contributon to the overall research project. With ninety-six respondents between the ages of 18 and 60 taking part over both locations, contributors were divided into twelve groups in total (six in Glasgow and six in London). To ensure a mix of responses, each group was made up of specific demograhics. While the majority of groups were of mixed gender, there was one all-male and one all-female group in both Glasgow and London. In addition, a number of groups included business owners and entrepreneurs while others were made up of employees from a wide-range of occupations. A diverse ethnic mix was sought across all groups, although the London sessions produced a more varied range of contributors. All participants possessed a genuine interest in the business programmes being considered (whether positive or negative) and indeed a wide understanding of television in general which made for a number of lively discussions.

The project team woud like to extend our thanks to all of those who took part in Glasgow and London and indeed to those who expressed an interest in the focus groups but who we were not able to accommodate due to the high level of responses. Thanks also to the team at Focus Force who were responsible for recruitment in London and Shoreditch Studios where the sessions were held.

The next phase of the project involves analysing the material that has been generated by the focus groups, with an early summary of this being presented at the MeCCSA conference in January. Early next year, the team will then go on to undertake a series of interviews with Glasgow-based entrepreneurs who have been involved in business-related programming.

Thanks to all of those who have contributed to the first stage of the project and wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – when they both arrive!