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23 December, 2014 - 09:09 By News Desk

Greene King committed to brewing innovation

Greene-King-Dragons Den

Suffolk brewer and pub chain powerhouse Greene King has a given a new twist to the art of pump-priming new business. It is now brewing innovation.

Greene King Pub Partners recently hosted a Dragon’s Den style event for its tenants and lessees in the BBC series’ original studio.

Tenants were invited to pitch business ideas with the aim of securing a partnership with Greene King that could help bring their ideas to life. 

A team of four from the tenanted and leased pub operator spent a day hearing ideas and proposals from seven entrepreneurial licensees currently running Greene King pubs.

Like the TV programme, the four Greene King ‘dragons’ considered each proposal and decided which ideas they would be willing to support and sponsor.

But unlike the real dragons, the Greene King fire-eaters ended up backing all the pitches!

One of the dragons, Clive Chesser, business unit director for Greene King Pub Partners, said: “We were blown away by the quality of the pitches. Everyone had gone to great efforts to present some very well thought through ideas.

“The room was set up like the real den, including cameras and lights, so it felt very authentic. We were so impressed with what was put in front of us that all seven ended up securing our support and we will be working with all of them to help progress their ideas.”

The ideas pitched ranged from small, quirky marketing ideas to large retail concepts.

Khoa Van was one of the tenants who entered the den, looking for support for his 80’s themed bar. He said of his proposal: “The 80s theme works because it fills a massive void for the over 25s after 11pm who want to party with like-minded people in a safe, fun environment.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking in the den but I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

James Sullivan-Tailyour has run the Swan Hotel in Bradford-On-Avon for three years. He asked the Greene King dragons for support to expand a successful poetry on beer mats promotion he had been involved with locally.

He said: “We had a really fun day and really enjoyed ourselves. It was a great opportunity and we are now looking forward to meeting with Greene King to push this concept forward.”

One entrepreneur, John Welbourn, brought along Max McMurdo, a designer and TV presenter. Max had previously entered the real BBC’s Dragon’s Den where he secured funding and mentoring from Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis. 

Following his second appearance he tweeted that the Greene King dragons were ‘maybe even harsher dragons than the first time around!’

The event was held to give tenants an additional opportunity to secure support for their business innovations. 

Chesser said: “We wanted to give these entrepreneurs, already doing a fantastic job running pubs, a new opportunity to see their ideas come to life, and hopefully have some fun along the way.”

Two more events were also held for Greene King employees who pitched a wide range of business innovation ideas. 


• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: (from L-R) Clive Chesser, business unit director for Greene King Pub Partners; Daniel Wilkinson, head of commercial & compliance; Ken Millbanks, group property director; Alex Dawson, business development manager. Image courtesy: Greene King.

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