Sir Gerry Robinson, business mogul and former chairman of Allied Domecq and Granada, is about take some very big risks: he’s preparing to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds of his own money in British companies. And all of them are about to go broke.
All over Britain, the economic crisis is causing businesses to go bust but Sir Gerry, armed with his personal chequebook and commercial nous, wants to rescue those companies that he thinks could have a fruitful future if they’re given funds and some fresh thinking.
Each week two businesses whose fate hangs precariously in the balance must persuade Sir Gerry that they’re potentially profitable before he makes his big decision – which, if any, businesses to invest in.
In the first episode of Gerry’s Big Decision, screened on Channel 4 on Thursday 2 July at 9pm, Sir Gerry’s quest brings him into the worlds of two couples – both of whom have built award-winning breweries but are now equally desperate for his cash.
One couple, John and Liz O’Hanlon, of O’Hanlon’s Brewery in Devon, have created a beer voted "the World’s Best Beer" – but they have mortgaged everything they own to get there. Without funding, they face losing the lot.
Another brewery in Hampshire is literally days from collapse. Itchen Valley Brewery in Hampshire is owned by Malcolm Grey. His girlfriend has already sold her house to keep the brewery alive – they have no more cards to play.
Sir Gerry submerges himself in all aspects of the businesses, trying to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of each faltering firm, interrogating staff from the top down and setting challenges designed to improve performance.
If he makes a mistake, it won’t just be their businesses going down the drain – but hundreds and thousands of pounds of his own savings too.
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