A PASSIONATE pitch in the Dragons’ Den may have failed to secure any investment but it’s brought promise to a fledgling franchise.
Lingotot, which teaches languages to pre and primary school-aged children across the UK, appeared in the formidable Dragons’ Den on BBC Two on Sunday.
Its founder Angela Sterling entered the Den – together with a handful of Lingotot students – looking for a £50,000 investment to fuel ambitious international growth plans in return for a 10 per cent share of her business.
Angela, a former teacher, said: ‘I have been teaching for a lot of years.
‘It was a case of bringing that teaching experience down to younger years. In business I like to be really honest and up front just like my personality – I wear my heart on my sleeve.’
She told the dragons how Lingotot teaches 10,000 children each week to speak a range of modern foreign languages including French, Spanish, German, Arabic and Mandarin.
Angela became emotional when she said that she needed support.
She said: ‘I’m embarrassed at how emotional I got, it came out of nowhere. It is because it’s so close to my heart.’
While it was a ‘no’ to investment, as the dragons were put off by its limitations, it was a resounding ‘yes’ to the business itself, with the dragons encouraging her to take on a business partner and to concentrate on her UK franchises before looking overseas.
One of these franchises is in Fareham, and is owner-managed by Mohadditha Jaffer. It was set up by 27-year-old Mohadditha, who had studied Arabic as a degree, at the start of the year. She had her first child Muhammad 17 months ago and said she wanted to combine her degree with her new role as mum.
Mohadditha said: ‘It was lovely to see some of our children on television singing the popular Lingotot welcome song that we sing at all of our classes.
‘I’ve no doubt their singing will have gone a long way to calming the nerves and bringing a sense of balance in to the den.
‘Nursery rhymes form a key part of our classes as we know that young children learn a huge amount through song and interactive actions, but to sing in four different languages and in front of those dragons and TV cameras is quite an achievement. While we didn’t secure investment, the show highlighted just how important it is to start teaching languages at a young age and what young children are capable of.’
Lingotot Fareham provides classes to children as young as six months old. It is the first franchise to offer lessons in Arabic. Mohadditha said she will be running more classes in French and Spanish soon..
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