Dovegate Does Dragons’ Den

Serco has always been proud to provide opportunities for innovation within the prisons we manage.

These innovations go a long way in helping to improve the lives of prisoners, such as increased autonomy in managing their day-to-day lives through in-cell kiosks or helping create stronger family ties through Inside’ TV’s “It’s Storytime” service at HMP Lowdham Grange.

Another recent innovation that has emerged from HMP Dovegate’s Education Department, is in the spirit of a classic TV show…

In the beginning of February 2021, Gillian Adams (Business Skills Tutor) brought Dragons Den to Dovegate.

The idea originated from the actual Dragons’ Den when Gillian used footage of this popular show to identify good and poor practises when pitching business ideas to a panel.

All prisoners are eligible to pitch their business idea and successful candidates who demonstrate the creativity and uniqueness of their entrepreneurial skills are then given the experience of pitching their business venture to Dovegate’s very own panel of judges.

In the judges’ chairs will sit the Business Enterprise Tutor, Education Manager and a member of the prison’s senior management team plus two further dragons to mirror the daunting atmosphere of the Dragons’ Den studio.

Applicants will put their entrepreneurial skills to the test by creating a professional business overview from an idea or a niche in the market they feel could be a viable business. This in turn gives the contender a vast variety of employability skills such as communication, organisational and management skills to name a few!

Helping to foster employability skills gives prisoners who have finished their sentence a better chance at securing employment. For a prisoner who has finished his sentence, having a stable job/career plays a crucial part (alongside having a home and supportive family) in turning away from crime for good.