Starting in 2005 as a GCSE A* project, Emily Webb took her business Oarsome Potential
Ltd in to the Dragons Den. Her product is a specifically designed hand grip for
use in the sport of rowing. It is designed to reduce the risk of injury by enables
rowers to efficiently turn the blade minimising strain on their wrists which can
cause tendonitis or repetitive strain injury. It also corrects technique and helps
improve the performance of novice or competitive rowers which makes it an ideal
The design was initially focused on reducing friction to prevent injury and blisters
- an occupational hazard for rowers the Oarsome potential grips have been tested
on the Olympic rowing course in Barcelona and by rowers at Westminster School and
the Junior Welsh Rowing squad of 2006, numerous other trials are currently on going.
The Oarsome Potential grip can also be used on indoor rowing machines to improve
comfort and the position of the hands. Development is underway with expanding into
the mobility market for use on crutches and with adaptive sports. Anthony Hughes,
Performance Manager for the Federation of Disabled Sports Wales said, ‘I have no
doubt these will be at the Para-Olympics ’and are being used currently by some of
Theo Paphitis said, ‘I have never been in the Den with someone I have enjoyed listening
to so much’; James Caan asked Emily to contact him when she finishes her degree
at Exeter University as he would like to give her a job, Duncan Bannatyne echoed
this, and offered to help Emily with her business through his fitness gyms and mobility
Emily has won a gold medal and platinum award and a prestigious award from the Taiwanese
Invention Association at the British Inventions Show in London in October 2007.
Emily has won a silver medal at the World Invention Show held in Geneva and has
also won two Special Recognition Awards at the British Female Inventor and Innovator
Network Awards in 2007 and 2008.
Emily was the youngest person ever to enter the Dragons Den alone and spent around
an hour and a half in front of the Dragons. Emily is currently selling her product
on her website www.oarsome-potential.co.uk and has other developments underway.
Emily is looking for distribution channels and potential in retail outlets.
Get your figures right or your number is up in the den
Posted by Steve Smith on Thu, 30/07/2009 - 10:39
This week's show was a
bit of a downer, with a lot of interesting ideas which just failed to make the grade
as business investments for the dragons. However, once again, the experience of
the latest batch of entrepreneurs and inventors proved how important it is to know
your turnover figures, profit margins and financial projections if you have any
hope of securing investment.
Josephine Buchan brought a musical about Dusty Springfield into the Den with a stirring
performance by singer Lucy Williamson of 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' to
round off her pitch. Josephine seemed to have convinced the dragons that this was
the right musical to launch at the right time, but then she hit problems. Firstly,
the 'Fiercesome Five' couldn't get their heads around the quirkiness of theatrical
financing; things then went downhill when Josephine couldn't answer straightforward
questions about the costs of hiring a theatre; then - the nail in the coffin - Josephine's
advocate, director Nickolas Grace, made the fatal mistake of saying: "Sometimes
you have to make an investment for pleasure." By seeing the venture from his own
point of view rather than the dragons' he sealed the project’s fate.
Emily Webb, an impressive young entrepreneur with an invention for rowers that originated
out of a GCSE project, performed magnificently but was unable to persuade the panellist
that there was a big enough market for her product. She also stumbled on her figures.
What a shame. She had achieved a great deal, and it looked like a winning product.
In the programme's finale, Oliver and Toby Richmond secured £100,000 for 30% of
Servicing Stop, their car servicing business. They were sure of their numbers and
confident in each other's judgement. The duo offered a branded, fixed-price car
servicing service through a network of 750 independent garages. This puzzled me
– how were they going to ensure quality? The customer paid them directly, and they
then paid the garage, so it looks to me like they could be liable if the work is
There is an eBay-like customer feedback mechanism in place, but this only works
after the event. If a car is poorly serviced, and this contributes to an accident,
then the fact that the garage's feedback score is reduced in no way makes up for
the possible financial and reputational damage. Though you may spend over an hour
in the den being grilled by the dragons, a maximum of about 12 minutes is ever aired
so maybe this point was covered off, but I’d love to know the answer!
Finally, a comment about Lawrence Webb and Frank Drewett who showed their wheelie
bin Lid Lifter invention made from 'plastic and string' was far from rubbish. The
pair illustrated that if you have a simple idea for a useful product backed by sound
financials you are always going to be in with a chance of impressing the dragons.
Emily in Dragons’ Den
Ex-HMSG girl Emily Webb, 20, was a hopeful candidate on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den program,
broadcast last Wednesday evening. Emily is managing her own business, selling an
award-winning product of her own design, all whilst studying for her degree writes
Having developed an ergonomic handle for a GCSE Design project, which
minimises blistering, tendonitis and Repetitive Strain Injury for rowers, Emily
now runs a business selling the “Oarsome Potential Grip”, and is winning international
acclaim for her innovation.
The Oarsome Potential grip is now patented in the U.K.,
Canada, Autralia, Germany and the U.S. Over 15,000 people apply to take part in
the BBC’s Dragons’ Den show each year, but Monmouth-based Emily was asked personally
to take part by the show’s production team, having been “talent-spotted” at the
annual British Invention Show in London. She described her time in the Dragons’
Den as “the most scary experience of my life!”
Monmouthshire business whizz goes into Dragons' Den
By South Wales Argus Newsdesk
THERE are not many 20-year-olds who would take on five venture capitalists, but
one Monmouthshire entrepreneur braved the Dragons' Den to help kick-start her business.
Fearless Emily Webb impressed the panel of Peter Jones, Duncan Bannatyne, Theo Paphitis,
Deborah Meaden and James Caan on this week's episode of the hit BBC programme with
her business Oarsome Potential Ltd.
The rower has invented a hand grip for use in the sport, designed to reduce the
friction between a hand and an oar and prevent blisters from forming.
It also enables rowers to efficiently turn the blade minimising the strain on their
wrists, which can cause tendonitis or repetitive strain injury.
What started out as an A* GCSE project four years ago has turned into a fledgling
business for the Exeter university student from Trellech, thanks to her keen business
acumen and the support of her mother and company director Gill Hurley.
On Wednesday night viewers of the programme saw her take on the dragons as she bid
for an investment of £75,000 to help get her company off the ground for a 20 per
cent stake in the firm.
Unfortunately, none of them decided to invest in the product, but sports club guru
and multi-millionaire Duncan Bannatyne did take her product away to discuss whether
to stock them in his 60 fitness centres throughout the UK.
Theo Paphitis told her: "I have never been in the Den with someone I have enjoyed
listening to so much."
But although it was a great experience, Emily told the Argus: "It was the most nerve-racking
time of my life."
"Even though I only appeared on TV for a few minutes, I was in front of the dragons
being questioned for a hour and a half. "I was nervous all the way through.
"The way it is edited for TV made it look worse, because Deborah Meaden was really
lovely and smiling all the way through."
The former Haberdashers pupil, who is the youngest person ever to face the den grilling
alone, also said that James Caan asked her to contact him when she finishes her
degree at Exeter University as he would like to give her a job.
She was scouted out by a programme researcher at the British Inventions Show, where
she has won gold and platinum awards for her product.
She was encouraged to apply and was eventually chosen to take part in the episode,
which was filmed in June.
Undeterred by the lack of funding, she is now continuing to expand her business
and development is underway with expanding into the mobility market for use on crutches
and with adaptive sports.
Emily will continue to sell her product online and finish the third year of her
business management degree before turning her attention full-time to her business.
The Oarsome Revolver is an "add on" for convention rowing oar handles incorporating
a rotating mechanism separating the handle in to two separate parts enabling the
rower to use exactly the same movement, but allowing for auto correction of common
poor technique traits; such as bent wrists, leaning out at the finish and also eliminates
the common problem of blisters The two separate parts of the handle allows for greater
ease of movement and allows for incorporation of the Oarsome Grip to maximise its
The Oarsome grip moulds to the shape of your fingers and returns to its original
shape at the end of your training session, and its easy to maintain and clean.
Not only is the Oarsome Grip suitable for use on oar handles but it is an asset
to have in the gym - ergonomically formed to sit comfortably on to a rowing machine.