Video/Gallery: Can Ipswich mum and businesswoman Jo Kerley sell her PlayAway case in the Dragons’ Den?

Ipswich businesswoman Jo Kerley was on Dragon's Den with her Playaway cases that are distributed through Realise Future in Ipswich. Ipswich businesswoman Jo Kerley was on Dragon's Den with her Playaway cases that are distributed through Realise Future in Ipswich.

David Vincent david.vincent@archant.co.uk
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
7:30 PM

Inventor Jo Kerley will this Sunday appear on BBC2 show Dragon’s Den as she seeks a backer for her innovative PlayAway children’s suitcase.

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s: The Dragons (L-R) Kelly Hoppen, Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Piers Linney - (C) BBC - Photographer: Andrew Farringtons: The Dragons (L-R) Kelly Hoppen, Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Piers Linney - (C) BBC - Photographer: Andrew Farrington

The Ipswich businesswoman admits it was a scary moment when she stepped into the Dragons’ Den, but remains tight-lipped over her success.

You can find out how she got on when the episode is aired at 9pm on Sunday.

Entrepreneurs have just three minutes to pitch their ideas, and then persuade the dragons that they want to get involved.

It is a potentially life-changing moment.

Jo travelled to Manchester and entered the Dragons’ Den, to pitch for financial support for her PlayAway children’s cases business.

Her cases, which include fun elements, are intended to help keep children happy when travelling, so making it a much better experience for their parents too.

Mum of two Jo, running her first business, was looking to win financial support and also mentoring from the millionaire experts who are all successful entrepreneurs in their own right,

This series they are Kelly Hoppen, Duncan Bannatyne, Piers Linney, Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones.

Jo said: “You are appearing on a television show that is going to be seen by seven million people. It is broadcast twice, the first on the Sunday night.

“That is a scary thought.

“It was probably one of the biggest challenges I had done in my life, along with flying to China to organise production.”

The television studio day started at 5am, when Jo was taken in for hair and make-up.

There were then rehearsals, and a run-through/rehearsal, (without the dragons being present) before going on to the live recording.

Jo said: “I had a chaperone with me all day, looking after me and to make sure I didn’t bump into the dragons.

“He was really calming, he made the experience much more comfortable.

“Before you go in, the nerves hit, and my mouth was very dry.

“What you don’t realise is the amount of stress involved.

“You know your whole life could change in the next 10 minutes.

“I knew my product was good.

“I knew it was good because it had been created with the help of the kids and parents.”

After a break from work to have her two children, Jessica and Benjamin, Jo began developing her business, from a simple idea after a family holiday to make fun and practical luggage for children.

After applying to be considered for Dragons’ Den, she was selected from around 3,500 entries to appear to “sell” her PlayAway cases.

For more information about Jo’s business, visit www.playawaycase. com.
In 2011, Suffolk entrepreneur Andy Bates, who runs AB Performance in Buxhall near Stowmarket, persuaded BBC “Dragon” Peter Jones to invest £50,000.

Mr Bates, whose company produces specialist vehicles for track day events, got offers from both Mr Jones and Duncan Bannatyne, before opting for the partnership with the multi-millionaire businessman.

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