Dragon’s Den for Business English Students

Jamie Reay, Josai International University

Quick Guide

  • Keywords: Multimedia, business pitch, peer evaluation
  • Learner English level: Intermediate and above
  • Learner maturity: University
  • Preparation time: 2 hours
  • Activity time: Two 90-minute lessons
  • Materials: Dragon’s Den (DVD from Amazon, or watch on YouTube), laptop, display, whiteboard, pens

This activity enables students to use teamwork, creativity and organizational skills to formulate and present a business idea. The first lesson sets the scene, provides examples of business pitches for the students, and gives them a chance to practice their listening skills. In the second lesson the students pitch their business plan to teacher and peers, who evaluate before deciding whether to invest in it. They then reflect and give feedback on each other’s pitches.


Choose an episode of Dragon’s Den of relevance to your students. Pre-watch the episode and make a note of useful vocabulary or cultural references that might need explaining.


Lesson 1

Step 1: Put students into groups and get them to discuss what constitutes a good business plan. Get each group to share their ideas with the class and make notes.

Step 2: Introduce the premise of Dragon’s Den: Contestants pitching their business ideas to potential investors - the dragons.

Step 3: Pre-teach any difficult language points or cultural references from the episode.

Step 4: Watch an episode of Dragon’s Den. Tell students to make notes about how the ideas are pitched, the questions the dragons ask, and why the dragons invest in the product

Step 5: Review the episode, asking students for the ideas they made notes on. Ask the students to reflect on how these ideas link to their original ideas.

Step 6: Tell the students they will participate in their own Dragon’s Den and each group has to think of their own product, something that they as students might need or find useful.

Step 7: Prepare a pitch following some of the business plan ideas discussed in class. Each pitch should be 2 to 3 minutes long. Review points on how to give a good pitch. For example: attracting the investor’s attention, highlighting your USP (unique selling point), being sure of the facts and figures about your product and knowing the competition.

Lesson 2

Step 1: Give students 10 to 15 minutes preparation time. Then select 4 students from other groups to be your fellow ‘dragons’.

Step 2: Sit with the other dragons at the front of the class, ask the ‘pitchers’ to stand in front of you and begin the pitches.

Step 3: After each pitch, encourage the dragons to ask questions to the contestants, and then decide whether to invest or not in their product. Dragons must give reasons why they invested or not. What attracted them to the product, why they thought it would succeed, and so on.

Step 4: Repeat step 2 and 3 until all the pitches are complete, using different dragons each time. Get each group to give feedback on which pitches they thought were good and the reasons why.


This lesson proved to be one of the most popular on my Business English course. The first lesson provided the students with the context and words that they could utilize in pitches, while the role play element of the second lesson really allowed students to shine. Students who had been quiet throughout the course surprised me with their imaginative pitches, or in their role as an authoritative dragon.