INNOCENT Drinks boss Richard Reed is on the hunt for a new batch of UK entrepreneurs.
Old Batelian Richard Reed is the star of a new BBC3 show, Be Your Own Boss, which will see him invest his own money into businesses he’s convinced will go the distance.
He said the show was his business karma.
“Me and my friends had a life-enhancing, mind-expanding experience,” he said.
“That’s because of just one guy in the world, out of everyone else who said no, who took a risk on us.
“I want to do to others what he did for us.”
Richard said the show would begin with 500 budding entrepreneurs who were each given £100 to turn their idea into a money-making business.
Of the hopefuls, any that were deemed ‘investable’ were given six weeks and a mentor to prove their pitch was worth his money.
“It’s not like there is just one prize,” he explained.
“We’re funding as many people whose businesses really are a possibility. Not everyone gets there, and some do crash and burn.”
While Innocent Drinks started off as an idea between university friends, Richard said he never planned to be an entrepreneur while studying at Batley Grammar School.
“I didn’t even know what the word meant,” he said.
“I grew up assuming a job was something you went out and got; that you worked for someone else’s business. It never occurred to me to set up my own business.
“I thought you had to be a certain type of person, with extra confidence, skills and money. It turns out, anyone can do it with just a good idea and being prepared to work hard.
“Of course, you do have to be a bit lucky, but mainly it’s about the idea and your commitment.”
Richard said it was important to celebrate the country’s entrepreneurs, as the Reporter Series is doing with its Business Awards.
He said: “Entrepreneurs are people who need to be celebrated most in a community. They are how the country grows and develops. Every job comes from there being a business, and every business starts with an entrepreneur.
“They are the yeast allowing the dough to rise; we must celebrate that yeast. They are the people who get it going, bringing lots of people in to help make the bread rise.”
The first episode of Be Your Own Boss is on BBC3 is on Wednesday.