Well Said Michael, I would not put it so strongly myself. I would however like to highlight (slightly defending):
1.) Dragons Den is mainly an entertainment program that chase ratings (as pointed out) viewers should not consider it anything else
2.) When it was first put together, the max investment proposed was £25,000. (yes I was approached) which shows they focus on half baked lifestyle businesses, so, really NOT in the VC territories and it still shows
3.) true & good operators in the Angel/VC/family office worlds would avoid publicity and just focus on their present job which has hundreds of good deal flows anyway
4.) Some dragons are better than others, I have not met any of the present dragons (not followed much since 1st series, love Duncan's new hair though!) but I met some previous ones, and a lot of UK business people who are much richer would understandably avoid the program like a plague
5.) due to 1.) + 2.) as this great article and Dan of Tiger mobile pointed out, they would invariably select not so great entrepreneurs /companies
6.) due to 4.) invariably they would select most entrepreneurs who are not as clever as the stars of dragon's Den.
Truth is that @BBCDragonsDen is a light entertainment program through and through: that mostly been designed to humiliate (sadly) not ready entrepreneurs (get good viewership) and sometimes educate non business viewers.
If people want to truly learn about ideas, business, how to grow, expand, I would recommend watching many other programs or engage with offline events, from other great BBC Stables like Peter Day's World of Business, Evan Davis' other program The Bottom Line, to @Nesta_UK@TheRSAOrg or even online courses from major universities @EdX@Coursera etc. some selected good programmes I have been are listed on my public twitter feed @CXOEurope@CXOAsia and especially good ones on @Be_Champion
BBC Dragon's Den is a successful program, and I would think it serves its purpose to engage with people who do not think much about business. We do need however other business programs to tackle the key issues of how to do better business, and #AskTheRightQuestions and #DoTheRightThing
For people that want to do big and great business? I humbly suggest you #ChallengeYourself first to self-educate about
b.) the chosen industry and
c.) then devise a plan (* to fill in the market gap /future /create demand)
Its not rocket science.
Following same rules to target major new markets, IMHO some dragons might not even make it by themselves, hence understandably, it is much easier for them to "invest" and get a piece with other people's work at the same time become a TV star and get even more invites to functions.
Just sincerely hopeful that it is a win-win for all.