Peter is one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and became a television celebrity through his appearances on the BBC Two show Dragons’ Den and on his American television show American Inventor. He is Chairman and Chief Executive of Phones International Group, steering and driving them forward as one of the UK’s most successful and fastest-growing telecommunications businesses. He is also involved in a number of additional business and media activities. His book Tycoon, published in 2007 by Hodder & Stoughton, is a UK bestseller.
He was a keen tennis player as a teenager, and earned money by giving tennis lessons and set up his own tennis academy at the age of 16.
Peter Jones set up Phones International Group in April 1998, starting 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.
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.
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.
Peter has also received a number of personal accolades. In 2001, he was named as Emerging Entrepreneur of The Year by The Times/Ernst & Young, and was listed 10th in Britain’s top entrepreneurs aged 40 and under by the Daily Telegraph in 2006.
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 ITV’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.
Beyond his wide-ranging business interests, Peter has focused much time and effort on supporting young people with their own business ambitions, specifically through establishing the National Enterprise Academy.