Interview : Kevin O'Leary
January 9, 2012 4:30 PM
Given his reputation as a ruthless businessman and his tough love approach with pitchers on Dragons' Den, Kevin O'Leary might seem like an unlikely choice to help guide ten former convicts through the business challenges presented in his new show Redemption Inc.
But as Kevin explained when we sat down with him recently, his steadfast belief that people deserve a chance for redemption motivated his decision to participate in the show.
"I want to give people who have paid their dues to society a second chance," states O'Leary. "You break the law, you pay your time, you should get a second chance. These people were good people once and they just went to the dark side by serendipitous reasons. That can happen to anybody, that can happen to you, it can happen to me. "
Throughout Redemption Inc. the show participants are presented with a series of challenges that will test their leadership and business acumen, and Kevin believes that the entrepreneurial skills that the former convicts picked up leading - in some cases - multi-million dollar criminal enterprises makes them very suited to the tasks.
"[Former convicts] have to be even smarter than their counterparts in the private sector that are working with the law because they have to avoid getting caught. Businesses like drug dealing, it's an awful business, but it has huge logistics problems," explains Kevin. "If you're successful at it, you've solved those problems. With financial crimes you have to be smarter than the banks you're stealing from. These are great entrepreneurs."
Watch the video below for more from our conversation with Kevin O'Leary.