When Jayne Sibley of Sibstar goes into the Dragons’ Den, it will be for the second time!

Tim Lages

Social Entrepreneur Support Manager

29th February 2024



When I explain what I do for work to people I’ve just met at the pub they often reply "what?" then after a bit more explaining say "oh, so it’s like a nice Dragons’ Den". Often, I’ll just respond "yes" to move the conversation on. It does glamourise what I do but it’s close enough to the reality and saves me getting out my job description while I’m having a pint.

Suddenly though, I’m very happy to report that those two worlds of "social entrepreneurship" and "Dragons’ Den" are moving closer together!

One of my social entrepreneurs, Jayne Sibley of Sibstar, is about to appear on the real Dragons’ Den. It’s exciting to say the least. Sibstar is an award-winning flexible debit card and app that’s designed to help families living with dementia to safely manage their everyday spending. And for the last two and a-bit years I’ve supported Jayne, and her co-founder Marty, with a lot of business planning and strategy advice.

Nearly all of this support has been online, me in my house in Bristol, them at home in Winchester. And most of the support has focused on financial forecasting. This has required a lot of work. I can safely say that doing the projections for a debit card and app requires a lot of number crunching (Excel you really are the G.O.A.T). This work has been an essential component of their future investment raises and has really allowed them to kick on from ideation stage.

More recently though we got to do something more novel together. When Jayne excitingly shared the news of their selection for Dragons’ Den, she also asked for some help to prepare. Unfortunately, our support budget didn’t allow for us to hire a red brick warehouse with an overly industrial lift but what we did do was get a panel of UnLtd staff and trustees together to act as Dragons. So, in June last year, five of us from across the organisation pretended to be Dragons and got ready to either "invest" or say the famous words, I’m out.

Jayne and Marty presented, and we then grilled them with questions. The UnLtd team pre-planned someone to say they are "out" halfway through the session just to rattle them a little. Overall though, Jayne and Marty did exceptionally well. They left with a couple of pages worth of notes with suggested changes to the presentation and answers and with that moved one step closer to doing it for real.

Jayne said,

"...having UnLtd go the extra mile for us and recreate the Dragons’ Den pitch was fantastic. It provided us with insights we couldn’t get anywhere else and left us feeling a lot more fired up for the real thing."

I’m so proud of the Sibstar team and the help UnLtd has given them. It shows what can be achieved when great ideas are given the right support to flourish.

Watch Jayne face the Dragons on BBC iPlayer.

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