With stints in law, banking and technology under his belt, self-made entrepreneur and former Dragon Piers Linney is no stranger to career success, but it’s been a constant fight against the system, he tells Mary Appleton. In this exclusive interview, the TV star explains why he’s now turning his focus to help others from similar backgrounds achieve their dreams.
Until recently, Piers Linney was a familiar face on BBC’s Dragons’ Den where he decided the fate of would-be entrepreneurs convinced their latest innovations will change the world of business. But while success and fame is synonymous with the tech entrepreneur, it hasn’t always been like this.
“I’ve turned up to appointments before and been given boxes to deliver,” he laughs. “Or I’d be sitting in meetings as the CEO, waiting to start and people would ask me when Piers was arriving. It’s the double-take effect. People didn’t take me seriously – no one expected me to be me.”
As a self-made businessman of Caribbean heritage from Lancashire, part of Linney’s mission is to break down barriers for talented young people with similar backgrounds to him and help them access work opportunities.
“I’ve been involved in many careers but the system didn’t work for me. I didn’t take no for an answer and managed to achieve, but not everyone has that confidence and innate ability. It’s so important that everyone has equal access to opportunity – so they have the potential to be all they can – and I want to do something to help that happen.”