Business television shows have a vital role to play in driving future economic growth in the UK; They are a very effective way of inspiring more young people to become entrepreneurs

Business television shows have a vital role to play in driving future economic growth in the UK, says Claire Young

They are a very effective way of inspiring more young people to become entrepreneurs, the former Apprentice finalist tells Rachel Bridge

Television shows have made entrepreneurship exciting, says Claire Young

By Rachel Bridge

6:00AM GMT 24 Feb 2014

Business reality television shows have been a really positive influence on young people and have encouraged many of them to start businesses who might not otherwise have done, says Claire Young.

Young, who has started her own business,, since appearing on series four of The Apprentice in 2008, said the shows had an important role to play in inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs: “I think business reality TV shows have been really positive for entrepreneurs and particularly young entrepreneurs. Programmes like The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den have made younger people more enterprising which is a good thing.”

Young called on television producers to create more such business television shows, saying: “The UK economic recovery is going to come from small business growth. It is going to come from the 15, 16 and 17 year olds who are currently at school and in college. We need them to know what being an entrepreneur is and we need to give them the tools to do it so that when they leave school they are ready to give it a go.”

She said that shows such as The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den had made starting a business exciting, saying: “There was this perception that being a business person was really boring, that you had to wear a suit and be a man who lived in a cul de sac and drove a Ford Focus and who went into an office every day. Now young people watch The Apprentice or Dragons’ Den and see people of all different shapes and sizes; they see young entrepreneurs, women and people with families on the show. It has made being an entrepreneur really accessible, and probably most importantly, aspirational.”

Young added: “I am a big believer that if you don’t see something, you can’t be it. So it is really positive that young people see someone on TV they can relate to.”

Young, who worked as a buying director for Superdrug before taking part in The Apprentice, said that the shows were more than just a passive experience for young people: “Lots of schools use shows like The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den in the classroom to teach students about enterprise skills. They dissect what went wrong and what could have been done better. The Apprentice has been running for more than ten years and by now most schools in the country will have had an Apprentice style competition with hundreds of thousands of students taking part.”

She said there were many positive lessons about entrepreneurship portrayed by the business shows: “They highlight the importance of having a business plan and being able to work in teams, and they show that to be successful in business you have got to work to deadlines, be proactive, and to be able to think on your feet. And those messages are so important for young people. Once when you left school you might be doing the same job for 30, 40, 50 years, but those days have gone now and nowadays someone might leave school and do 25 jobs over the next 30 years. They will need to be adaptable and be able to think quickly on their feet.”

Young said that the shows had their negative side, but said that these were outweighed by the positive messages they send out: “There are a few downsides to the shows, in that some of the candidates taking part are greedy for fame and so they become caricatures of themselves and play up to certain stereotypes. And personally I think that some of the women’s behaviour in the last couple of series of The Apprentice was detrimental to business women. You can get extreme people taking part in a reality TV show who are great entertainment value. But overall I think they have been really positive. When my daughter is 15 I would much rather she watched The Apprentice than Big Brother or TOWIE.”


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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