Peter Jones (entrepreneur) (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Peter Jones, CBE (born 18 March 1966) is a British entrepreneur and businessman with interests in mobile phones, television, media, leisure, and property. He became a television celebrity through his appearances on the BBC Two show Dragons' Den and on his American television show American Inventor. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.
Peter Jones grew up in Maidenhead and attended Desborough School there and, subsequently, The Windsor Boys' School.
A keen tennis player as a teenager, he earned money by giving tennis lessons and set up his own tennis academy at the age of 16. By age 22 he was married and had his own home.
His second venture was a computer business where he manufactured PCs under his own brand. In his mid twenties, he opened a cocktail bar in Windsor based on the Tom Cruise film Cocktail. However, he lost £200,000 after deciding to sell it. According to an interview with The Times, Jones's computer business failed when he was in his twenties, and he was forced to give up his three-bedroom home in Bray, his cars, and had to move back in with his parents. He then joined Siemens Nixdorf.
After Siemens, he set up his next venture Phones International Group in April 1998. He started humbly by sleeping on the office floor but business soon grew. The firm experienced explosive growth with revenue totalling £14 million by the end of the first year and £44 million by the end of the second. The company was one of the fastest growing businesses in Europe. Group turnover for 2005/2006 was in excess of £150 million.
In the summer of 2005, Jones teamed up with another Dragons' Den star, Theo Paphitis, to buy the gift experience company Red Letter Days from fellow panellist Rachel Elnaugh, under whose ownership it had collapsed.
He has also created other businesses between 2004 and 2008, including firms such as Wines4Business.com, an online retailer specialising in the sale of wine and champagne to corporate clients and Celsius, a specialist recruitment business.
His investments resulting from his appearances on Dragons' Den include Wonderland Magazine (a luxury lifestyle and culture magazine), Square Mile International (which provides data services for marinas and later sold to BT), The Generating Company (a contemporary circus company), Concentrate Design (which creates products to help pupils concentrate at school), iTeddy and Reggae Reggae Sauce.
He owns a TV production company called Peter Jones TV, and his business portfolio also includes a range of property investments (his nine properties include a Portuguese villa that he bought from DJ Chris Evans and a property in Beverly Hills, California).
In 2009 Peter Jones founded the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy (formally NEA) as a way to improve the entrepreneurial capabilities within the UK. The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy (PJEA) is a centre of excellence for enterprise and entrepreneurship and has several campuses throughout the UK including Amersham, Sheffield, Manchester and Oxford.
Peter Jones sold part of Phones International Group, Wireless Logic, for £38 million in 2011. Phones International Group retains Data Select, the other part of the group.
Dragons' Den, which started in January 2005, has produced nine series to date, with the current series starting in September 2012. Jones is known on the show for his regular conflicts in the Den with fellow Dragon, Duncan Bannatyne.
He sold his TV show idea called 'The Inventor' to the American Broadcasting Company. "American Inventor", which was co-produced by Fremantle, Simon Cowell and "Peter Jones Television" " aired in March 2006. The first episode of Inventor put ABC ahead of rival networks with a 7.8 average rating and a 13 share and became a Number one show in America. The show, in which Jones also featured as a judge, was the network's biggest success for a Thursday primetime slot in years. 2007 was the last year in which this show was broadcast.
After signing a "Golden Handcuffs" deal with ITV to appear as their new "face" of business programming, on 21 September 2006 Jones appeared on GMTV to talk about "Dragons' Den" and his new ITV show Tycoon " solely produced by the "Peter Jones Television" company. The viewing figures were 2.1 million viewers, which was more than the UK premiere of The Apprentice and Dragons' Den when they both aired in 2005. The series returned on Monday, 9 July 2007 as a 30-minute format for the 10 pm slot.
Other television work
In January 2010, Jones appeared alongside his Dragons' Den co-stars Duncan Bannatyne and Deborah Meaden in the fifth episode of the sixth series of Hustle. Jones appeared in ITV2's Celebrity Juice in May 2010, and James Corden's World Cup Live in June. In November 2010, Jones was a guest panellist in BBC Quiz Show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and in The Magicians in January 2011. Jones has twice participated in the "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" segment of Top Gear, once on his own and once with fellow Dragons' Den judge Theo Paphitis.
Jones took over from Gordon Ramsay as the face of BT Business. In June 2009 Jones appeared in advertisements for moneysupermarket.com, a UK Price Comparison website.
A self-confessed car freak, his first car was an Alfa Romeo Alfasud. He also has a stable of classic and luxury sports cars, while his sponsored business car is presently a Maybach 57.
On 12 August 2008 he was challenged by British tabloid The Sun to sit a 90 minute A-Level examination in Business Studies. He accepted the challenge and received an 'A' grade.
He is 6 ft 7" tall (2,01 m). He lives in Beaconsfield, South Buckinghamshire with his partner Tara and their three children. He is separated from his first wife Caroline, with whom he had two children.