By Tobias Pius
Lions’ Den, a business reality show for promising entrepreneurs across Nigeria to step forward and pitch their businesses to five Nigerian investors who are ready to invest in the ventures of these aspiring Nigerians is about to take centre stage.
Budding entrepreneurs with ideas for the next big product or service, or ideas that are akin to gold and can sweep the Nigerian market, are afforded the chance to pitch to the investors on the show known as “The Lion’s Den” who are ready to give back to society and help fulfil the dreams of Nigerians, and upon proper conviction, these investors will offer the showcased entrepreneurs the much-needed capital to expand their business and take it to the next level. Also, if they see much greater potential in an entrepreneur’s business, product or idea, these investors are also open to investing in the said business in exchange for some equity.
The lions on the show are business leaders in their own rights and asides from partnering with these budding entrepreneurs, to help them take their businesses to greater heights, they will put the entrepreneurs through eight tests in order to forge their acumen.
From the series of tests, the first is a 3 minutes pitch where entrepreneurs get to state their name, that of their business and its nature and then how much capital they are pitching for and the percentage of their company they are willing to do away with.
Next is a Q&A session. These entrepreneurs are not obliged to answer every question thrown their way although turning down a question or even answering it has a way of affecting their outcome; an example of such is in the case of refusing to reveal net profits.
An entrepreneur’s time in the den is over if all 5 lions declare themselves “out”. Also, once a lion has declared his or herself out, they mustn’t re-enter into negotiation on the deal and will be expected to remain silent and allow others to pursue their negotiation, except if there is a compelling reason to get back in on this.
Entrepreneurs then are expected to secure at least the total amount they asked for at the start of their pitch. Each entrepreneur must leave the den with at least the full amount they asked for from the get-go or exit the den empty-handed, and if a lion offers less than asked by an entrepreneur, such entrepreneur is expected to make up the total by securing an investment from one or more of the remaining lions.
Also, an entrepreneur is free to renegotiate for more money than asked for initially as this is usually to redress the sticking point of an entrepreneur giving up more equity than was initially offered
Another integral part is this, since each lion is working as an individual investor, and can invest as little or as much of their own money as they want, it is up to the entrepreneur to persuade the lion to match the required investment or pledge to invest a portion thereof. It is permitted for an entrepreneur to seek investment from more than just one lion to make up the total amount required as a full investment may involve between one or all investors.
Entrepreneurs have the freewill to refuse an investment from a lion if such investment is deemed unacceptable or if the entrepreneur sees a lion as a wrong partner to go into business with.
However, the deal agreed upon in the den is an unwritten agreement that is dependent on due diligent checks and depends on the integrity of both investor and entrepreneur to both freely enter the transaction and both see it through fully with utmost commitment. After traditional meetings between an entrepreneur and a lion, which is solely between the duos, if an agreement cannot be reached, neither party is legally obliged to seal the deal.
And finally, of the tests, entrepreneurs are permitted to have an advocate who must have been screen-tested, put through the same personal checks as the entrepreneur and pre-approved on standby in the den to help answer some of the questions the lions throw at an entrepreneur, but also such a person must be directly involved in the business.
Entry into this year’s edition of the show has a deadline for applications set for February 28th 2021, and upon this, entrants are expected to:
- Submit an application form which is subject to casting criteria,
- Be 18 years and above to be eligible,
- Have an existing Ecobank account or at least be ready to operate one,
- Note that due to the high number of applications, only shortlisted applicants will be contacted but it is worthy of note that all applications are considered carefully selected,
- Note that once shortlisted for consideration, organizers will run a background and due diligence check on all applicants but ultimately the final selection for participation will be decided by a number of factors and the producer’s discretion is what stands as final,
- Note that investment in the business is solely the discretion of the lions,
- Be aware that a lion can pull out of any investment he/she feels uncomfortable with,
- Know that entrants personal data will be used in accordance with privacy and data protection laws including The Nigerian Data Protection Regulation 2019,
- Be aware that all data sent by entrants will be used for the purpose of selecting contestants for Lions’ Den, and the production and distribution of the show is retained by the production company for the period necessary for it to use the data,
- Note that if an entrant is selected for the show, and offered investment by a lion at the end, the production company will share the entrant’s data with the investing lion for the purpose of them conducting their own due diligence