The first Dragon of Afro Caribbean descent Piers Linney Quits Dragon’s Den after just 2 years

Dragon’s Den’s most recent (and most dashing) addition Piers Linney is quitting the show after just 2 years.

 

The serial technology and communications entrepreneur and Co-CEO of cloud computing business Outsourcery announced his departure from the BBC2 show Dragons’ Den on Friday. Piers joined the programme two years ago as part of a show refresh by a new production team, which saw ratings grow by an average of 45 per cent., with series 11 also receiving a Bafta nomination.

The 43-year-old businessman who caught our eye with his shrewd, but sometimes sensitive assessments of the latest would be crop of entrepreneurs looking for investment said he had, “enjoyed every minute of my time on Dragons’ Den and feel honoured to have had the opportunity to contribute to such an iconic and long-running TV show and to have been the first Dragon with Afro Caribbean heritage.”

He continued to break our hearts by adding, “It is now the right time for me to move on, although entrepreneurship and diversity are two of my greatest passions, so I will continue to focus my energies on supporting both. It has been a great experience and a pleasure to share with millions of viewers the growing importance of digital innovation and how the technology and creative sectors are making their profound marks on the evolving landscape of British business.”

The married father of two however said he would continue to work closely with the entrepreneurs he has backed, including Lost My Name, the technology start-up which takes children on a storytelling journey, creating beautifully illustrated and individual stories using their own names. Piers invested £100,000 in the company which received a valuation of £2.5 million, the highest ever valuation in Dragons’ Den history. His faith in the potential of the founders and their exciting business has been rewarded with sales of 132,616 copies in UK and 325,000 globally, generating a turnover of £6 million in its first year.

As a Co-CEO of world-leading Cloud Services Provider Outsourcery, which already counts some of the world’s largest technology and communications companies as its partners and several FTSE-100 companies as customers, Piers will be particularly focusing his time on growing the business, which he co-founded.

With both Barbadian and English heritage, Piers grew up in a small mill town in Lancashire in North-West England where he attended the local comprehensive school after failing his 11+.  With aspirations of being his own boss even at the age of thirteen, Piers cut out his local newsagent by going direct to the wholesaler to start his own paper round, planting his entrepreneurial seeds by building it up and then selling it off.

He has since gone on to build a formidable name for himself in the UK’s business sphere, particularly in the tech sector with Piers being recognised as one of the top 100 black Britons in the Thomson Reuters sponsored Powerlist 2015. He also won the Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 award at the inaugural and EY sponsored Black British Business Awards.

Piers’s support for business and enterprise in the UK led to him being named as a member of the Cabinet Office SME Panel, which advises the Cabinet Office on work to help more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) win public sector contracts and other SME-related issues.

Alongside his interest in enterprise, Piers’s belief in the potential for positive impact by scalable social businesses, alongside and in partnership with commercial and public sector organisations, led to the inception ofworkinsight.org; a not-for-profit venture that is creating a digital platform to empower young people with greater access to valuable workplace experiences, whilst removing bias from the selection process.

Piers continues: “Inclusion and social mobility have always been something which I have dedicated considerable energy and resources to promoting. Opportunity is not fairly distributed and the changing face of the UK population is not represented at the highest echelons of business and commerce, including on the boards of our largest companies. This is something which I have experienced in person and I am determined to do my bit to create a more level playing field for the next generation, irrespective of race, religion, gender, sexuality or socio-background. Until boards of directors, workforces and even the ownership of supply chains reflect society at large, we will not have a fair society.”

David Williams, Creative Director, BBC Entertainment North, commented, “Piers Linney has been an inspiration on the programme, his entrepreneurial expertise from the world of technology will be missed in the Den and we wish him continued success in his future ventures.”

Piers will be on the remainder of the current season of Dragons’ Den, airing on Sunday evenings at 21:00pm on BBC Two.

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