Rose among Dragons

I found your article about the Dragons Den (Leader, 7 August) very interesting. I was lucky enough to make a nine-minute appearance on the second series of the programme last year.


I found your article about the Dragons Den (Leader, 7 August) very interesting. I was lucky enough to make a nine-minute appearance on the second series of the programme last year in front of 3.5 million viewers – one of the longer slots. As you quite rightly said, many other people on the show had different types of business ideas, not necessarily technological innovation, so I was happy that the BBC showed an interest in my technological innovation.

My invention was a simple ceiling rose that allows anybody to change a light bulb and eliminates the risk of accident or injury. This would be particularly beneficial to the elderly or disabled, but good design or sustainable technology benefits everybody.

I have the full UK patent on my invention and was asking the Dragons for £75,000 to take my demonstration prototype into the next phase of development and turn it into a full pre-production working prototype.

I knew it was a high-risk investment for the Dragons and the chances were that they would not invest. They feel outside their comfort zone when they cannot quantify what is presented to them in monetary terms. James Dyson had this problem when he took his bagless vacuum cleaner prototype into the outside world to try and get people interested in that.

The Dragons did not invest and I believe I gave a good account of myself on the programme. For me the important thing was the exposure, and since the programme I have had good interest from companies who want to talk to me about taking the invention further.

Joe Solera


Swindon, Wilts



Make your point to The Engineer and take off with bmi



How to enter
Write a letter to The Engineer magazine and you could win a pair of tickets to one of bmi’s European destinations, courtesy of our friends at the airline.



Flexible and competitive
bmi asked 10,000 customers ‘what would make a great airline?’



The answer was clear: competitive fares, more choice and less time wasted at airports. So bmi acted, introducing a unique fare structure on domestic and European short-haul flights to and from London Heathrow. Thanks to three fare options — including premium economy, with benefits including lounge access and flexibility — you choose the services you want, depending on your business trip.



What’s more, bmi has streamlined the passenger process from the moment of buying the ticket, to your passage through the airport, to boarding the aircraft. You can book e-tickets online and then check in online at home, in your office, or even on the move.



Alternatively, there are self-check-in machines and priority check-in desks at the airport. You can even use bmi ‘web points’ to check in online at the airport, if that’s more convenient. All this means you can save valuable time from booking, right until your plane takes off.



The prize
Try the smart approach for yourself, courtesy of bmi. The winner of The Engineer’s Letter of the Month prize for April, as selected by the editor, will win a pair of tickets from London Heathrow to any destination on bmi’s European mainline network.



Click here for terms and conditions.



The Engineer

50 Poland Street
London
W1F 7AX