Introducing… Be Your Own Boss, BBC3

Everything you need to know about the Beeb's new "smooth" business reality show that's definitely nothing like The Apprentice or Dragons' Den...

Finally! I take it this is an antidote to The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den and all those copycat business shows where multi-millionaires huff and puff and reduce budding entrepreneurs to sniffling wrecks? It’s about time too. Wait a sec, who’s that urbane chap in the picture?


That’s Richard Reed, the smooth-talking multi-millionaire behind Innocent Smoothies and the capital behind this show. He’s set aside half a million pounds to invest in promising start-ups.

But if he’s supplying all the moola, isn’t he the boss?

Just because he controls the purse strings, pokes his nose into business plans and summons entrepreneurs to his office to read them the riot act doesn’t mean he’s the…. Actually, you might have a point.

Where does he find these entrepreneurs?

He invites five hundred hopefuls along to a huge warehouse in London and wanders around with a furrowed brow evaluating their business plans while us folk at home fall about laughing at the ludicrousness of their ideas.

Sounds suspiciously like Dragon’s Den.

Sort of. Except instead of sharp talons and fiery banter, there are lots of shots of Reed running his fingers through his impeccably-coiffed locks and looking pained when he has to say no and destroy dreams.

Heartrending stuff. I’m still not convinced.

Wait, there’s a twist: after he’s selected three wannabe entrepreneurs whose ideas he considers worthwhile, he only awards them a modest sum of three to five grand.

So he’s a stingy boss.

No, it’s “seed capital” – and that’s the interesting bit. His entrepreneurs then have a couple of months to prove they’re worthy of more money. Cue lots of suspenseful pauses as they wait to hear their fate.

Like I said, it sounds suspiciously familiar.

Ok, ok, so it’s not exactly original. But at least Mr Innocent Smoothie is prettier than Sir Alan Sugar.


Be Your Own Boss starts on Wednesday 12 September at 9.00pm on BBC3