Molly Middleton Interview
Two "Dragons' Den" representatives spoke at an entrepreneurs conference at Brescia University College. Past winner and CEO of The 7 Virtues Barbara Stegemann and Senior Producer Molly Middleton were keynote speakers at "Fail Fast. Succeed Faster". The event was named President of Radical Solutions Group Sunil Godse's book, focusing on how to overcome challenges and failures in business.
Both women spoke about the business industry for women.
"I think the landscape for female entrepreneurs is getting better and better," Middleton believes, "I think equality is on the forefront for everyone so I don't think it's getting any easier or more difficult to pitch as a female entrepreneur, and I think it's great that women are often more creative and think outside the box."
Stegemann identified a difficulty women face in business. "Women are really good at starting companies, [but] we have challenges in growing them, and sometimes we have to make difficult decisions. We don't want to hurt people's feelings," she explains, "but you don't have to hurt people's feelings when you do difficult things. You don't have to be mean when you're doing things you think are not really nice. For example, if you have to leave a boutique and move to a big department store you have to say goodbye."
Middleton admits she doesn't have a business background, but has learned about the industry through "Dragons' Den" and the people she's met on the show. She advises those interested in entering the business industry to keep their pitch simple. "A lot of people in a typical business pitch would want to show a Powerpoint presentation or give a handout, and when you're doing that on television, that's impossible. So you're going to have to 'Keep It Simple, Stupid', by just bare bones when necessary, and just sort of think about your audience," she states, "our audience could be an 88 year old grandmother or an eight year old kid, so how do you pitch your niche business or a specific product in a way that everyone can understand it."
Stegemann strongly encourages future entrepreneurs to find a mentor. "Make sure you have someone that you can ask for help, don't do it alone. Nobody ever makes it alone, and I'm not doing it alone and my farmers are not alone," she says, "[It's] really important you make sure that you have someone in business, or someone that knows business that cares about you that you can go to for council."
Godse hosted and facilitated the event.