An entreprener who had the dragons of Dragon’s Den eating out of her hand is the keynote speaker at a forthcoming Swindon business event.
Sharon Wright will be talking about her journey to the Dragon’s Den and beyond to guests at Swindon Connections, the De Vere Village Hotel on the Shaw Ridge Leisure Park on 12 May.
The 40-year-old mum from Scunthorpe became well-known when she successfully negotiated a deal on Dragons’ Den with her award winning invention Magnamole which allows cables to be safely threaded through walls. She’d come up with the idea when a telephone engineer struggled to wire up her new telephone when she was moving home.
“It was my Eureka moment. I thought of it as I watched him try to thread cable using a coathanger and I knew from my health and safety knowledge that was not safe. I just saw the opportunity and went for it.”
Sharon had already sold 45,000 units when she entered the Dragons’ Den but was looking to move her business to a higher level. Several dragons fought over a potential deal but she chose to link up with entrepreneurs James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne. As she left, she believed she’d secured funding of £80,000 – she’d only asked for £50,000.
But the relationship with James Caan did not evolve as Sharon had expected. She was presented with a contract and given, she says, little time to absorb its contents. “I chose to sign it and that was my mistake. The reality was that the business relationship did not meet my expectations and I did not receive the funding I was expecting.”
Sharon has now written a book – “Mother of Invention – How I Won Dragon’s Den, Lost My Mind, Nearly Lost My Business and Ended Up Reinventing Myself” – that documents her personal struggle as a single mother, inventor and entrepreneur.
In it she talks about dealing with James Caan, her decision to move to London to grow her business thus allowing her child’s father to become the main carer of their teenage daughter.
“People will be amazed by what happened to me after the programme. They might imagine that I was handed opportunities on a plate and received the support that I needed but the reality was far different.”
Struggling in London without her daughter, Sharon became overwhelmed by guilt and depression allowing her difficulties with an eating disorder, bulimia, to re-emerge.
Writing her book has helped in her recovery, and Sharon has now established herself as an inspiring professional speaker. She’s sold Magnamole and is pursuing other business interests. The Dragon’s Den situation is also far from over – Sharon is currently involved in legal action against James Caan. Her relationship with Duncan Bannatyne remains positive.
“I still think Dragon’s Den is a wonderful show and a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs. The moral of my story is that it was part of a four-year journey where I learned so many lessons, I’ve faced adversity and it’s possible to recover and to become a stronger person.”
As well as her personal story, the book contains advice on how to launch a new product, deal with setbacks and describes the levels of self sufficiency that today’s entrepreneur needs to embrace to survive and prosper.
Sharon will be speaking at the event run by Business-Scene.com on May 12 from 6pm to 8.30pm. Register for the event here