The Tale

On the 30th September 2012, the BBC's hit show Dragons Den welcomed young, aspiring entrepreneur Harrison Woods to pitch his innovative business concept of Primal Parking.

Whilst studying Geography at the University of Manchester, the budding entrepreneur observed frailties within the parking industry and subsequently began to formulate a business strategy to solve such issues which he viewed as fundamental.

After extensive research, networking and planning Harrison came up with his business of Primal Parking, which serves as an online platform that allows individuals and business to rent out their unused or underutilised premises to generate extra income whilst also providing a community-orientated and economical alternative for those seeking the cheapest, safest and most convenient parking.

After an understandably nervy start, Harrison managed to convey his business model and entrepreneurial flair well enough to warrant a combined investment offer from both Peter Jones CBE and Theo Paphitis, to which Harrison gladly accepted. With such strong support on so many levels, it gives us a great foundation for Primal Parking to succeed. However, what is profoundly clear is that Harrison's concept and the manner in which he has driven it forward has created a fresh marketplace for individuals and businesses to fully utilise their premises whilst also providing an alternative to corporate giants. Problem solved.

Would you have invested?

Experience in the Den

Harrison has described how his involvement in Dragon's Den evolved from an unexpected journey to an unimaginable learning experience. He had originally applied to the show the previous year, but was unfortunately a little too late in the process to be considered. Unfazed, Harrison continued to mould and develop Primal Parking to match his vision of a sharing economy within the parking industry.

In February 2012, during which time he had already spoken with a plethora of potential investors, Harrison received what he initially but mistakenly perceived as a prank phone call from a friend, whereas it was in fact an intrigued member of the Dragon's Den team who, after coming across his application for Dragon's Den series 9, was keen to learn more about Primal Parking and Harrison himself. After detailed discussion about his vision to transform his company from his student bedroom to a national player and beyond, Harrison was invited to pursue an appearance on Dragon's Den once more.

It was from this initial discussion and the gruelling process that followed that gave Harrison impetus to probe areas of his business that he had not yet delved into. Harrison worked day and night whilst balancing his degree work to plan, conceptualize and articulate his business model that the Dragon's Den team required as due diligence. Describing the whole process as a "rollercoaster", he is extremely thankful to each every one of the team that assisted him in his preparation for the grand finale. Harrison often stipulates that such help served as sustenance to his subsequent successes, which he will always regard as testament to how far Primal Parking has since come.

Here is a monologue from Harrison's own perspective from when he was asked to enter the Dragon's Den set…

"I had arrived at the BBC in the early hours of the morning where I was met by Harry, the show's assistant producer, to undergo the necessary protocols of makeup and familiarization with the green room. After hours of preparation, I found myself pacing up and down the holding room relaying my pitch over and over again. The tension was immense, yet when Harry asked me to walk up the stairs to enter the den itself; I could hear nothing but silence. Before I knew it, I was asked to descend onto the set to pitch my business idea to five of the most intimidating individuals I had ever come across. 'This is it', I thought. All I had to do now was deliver a pitch that I had delivered a million times so that I could take my business to the next level..."

The Future of Primal

Since the airing of Dragon's Den, Primal Parking has grown its parking database to over 5,500 spaces, thus offering a substantial new marketplace to individuals in search of cheaper, more affordable and convenient parking as well allowing other individuals and businesses alike to generate extra revenue on their underutilised premises.

The Primal brand has diversified into the security bollard market with a range of products to protect the property and assets of both businesses and residents. The experience of Dragon's Den, the process involved and the support invested has elevated Primal to where it is today, placing on us on innovation within the parking industry.

As for Harrison himself, the participation in Dragon's Den has proved truly invaluable and was a major stepping stone to his huge accomplishments. However, the experience has merely driven Harrison to take his ideas even further and he already has a number of new and innovative solutions to offer the commercial parking industry in the future. To be continued…

Apply for the Den

If you believe you have revolutionary idea that might interest the dragons, follow the link below to apply for the next series of Dragon's Den: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dragonsden/aps/apply.shtml

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