According to a survey by Business Link, which is featured today on the StartUps site, the person budding entrepreneurs would be most scared of pitching their business to is Dragons’ Den panellist Deborah Meaden.
The poll questioned 720 aspiring entrepreneurs, and Meaden received a fifth of all the votes. This compared to a mere 10% for Bannatyne, Jones and Paphitis.
Afsana Shukur, head of diversity and equality at Business Link London, sheds some light on the matter:
“There is no denying that Deborah's passion and direct approach has helped make her the successful business woman she is today. It’s unfortunate though, that many successful businesswomen tend to be viewed as domineering and aggressive.”
Over three years on, I am still trying to shake off my 'Dragon Bitch' persona - and I don't think I was anywhere near as hard as Deborah on the entrepreneurs who pitched in the Den.
It's a real shame that Deborah Meaden still portrays the old pinstriped 'Alpha Female' 1980's stereotype (although she did eventually soften her look for series 5) - she is after all a role model for all who watch the Show, which includes many young girls looking for someone to emulate.
But then if Deborah were any 'nicer' the BBC would have thrown her off the Show by now, as happened to Richard Farleigh and Simon Woodroffe before him.
I meet women in business at events all the time these days, and it so refreshing that the majority are feminine, sexy, supportive and collaborative - as well as being fabulously successful.
Being feminine and successful in business are no longer mutually exclusive.