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Dragon chairs Big Issue

February 03 2010
Dragons‘ Den star James Caan has become chair of The Big Issue magazine Dragons' Den star James Caan has become chair of The Big Issue magazine. Mr Caan, 49, who is chief executive of private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw, took up the post in December. He said: "The Big Issue embodies my firm belief that we all need a helping hand sometimes. I identify with building something from nothing and the organisation's principle of giving a hand up, rather than a handout, resonates with me on many levels.

"What's most remarkable about The Big Issue is its ability to work with homeless people without their dignity being sacrificed."

A spokesman for the street magazine said the entrepreneur was brought on board to help bring them into the digital age by improving their online content in a bid to boost advertising revenue, which has been hit by the credit crunch. Mr Caan, who is currently involved in around 40 businesses through his private investment fund, is also set to establish The Big Issue in Pakistan, the country of his birth, and is assisting with the launch in India. He added: "It doesn't matter what language you speak or what culture you're from - a desire to earn a legitimate living and integrate back into mainstream society is something that is universally felt."

The magazine circulates more than 147,000 copies a week and vendors last year made more than £8m. Founder and editor-in-chief John Bird said: "James is one of UK business's leading lights, so I have no doubt that he'll be a fantastic addition to our board. In the 18 years since I launched The Big Issue, it remains a ground-breaking initiative and a unique business proposition, so we hope James will find working with us challenging, exciting and enlightening."  

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