New Dragon's Den businessman Piers Linney offers advice to Bolton entrepreneurs

The Bolton News: Piers Linnery, left, with Gordon Burns Piers Linnery, left, with Gordon Burns

THE University of Bolton welcomed new dragon and pioneering IT business leader Piers Linney to offer advice to Bolton’s business community at a networking get-together.

Mr Linney is best known for his new role as one of the stars of the BBC show, Dragons’ Den, where he and his fellow dragons listen to business ideas and decide whether or not to invest .

He is also the co-chief executive officer of leading cloud-based IT business, Outsourcery.

The 42-year-old was talked with veteran broadcaster Gordon Burns in the Deane Lecture Theatre before an audience of university staff, students and business people.

Mr Linney, who is originally from Bacup, has a special connection with Bolton as his mother used to run a business in the town.

He said: “Mum had a shop that sold candles and accessories. It was based near the old Market Hall but when the Trafford Centre opened and Manchester City Centre was re-generated, the footfall in Bolton fell off a cliff so she had to move.”

Speaking about Bolton Council’s plan to offer businesses cash grants to move to the town centre, Mr Linney said he supported anything that promoted more town centre shoppers but insisted that more was needed than a one-off.

He said: “What these businesses need is commitment and longevity because if the money dries up then what?

“But the idea of inviting niche businesses, like greengrocers and music shops is a good one. The internet has changed things so these businesses need to provide a niche.”

The entrepreneur, who started his first business at the age of 13, went on to study law at Manchester University and said he would advise young people to pursue education whilst building up their business experience. The event was organised as the university’s business school looks to forge links with Bolton’s business community.

Vice-chancellor George Holmes said: “It is fantastic to have someone of Piers’ calibre coming to the business school. What we are trying to do is bring the university and business community together and this is a great way of doing that.”

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