This article by Christine Wood originally appeared in The Coast Reporter on March 23, 2012. Sunshine Coast business owners left to right; Brian Mullins, Holy Crap Cereal, Sarah Doherty, Sidestix and Eric Olsen of Vintage Sport Images shared their Dragons’ Den experiences and tips at the March 19 Fast Track to a Dragons' Den Deal workshop.
Forty participants attended from the Lower Mainland and the Sunshine Coast in preparation for the March 20 auditions for season seven of the Dragons' Den, which took place at the Seaside Centre in Sechelt.
Several up-and-coming entrepreneurs pitched their products and ideas to the producers of CBC’s Dragons’ Den March 20 and it looks like at least one will get a call back to enter the Den.
“I’m sure there will be at least one person from Sechelt that will appear on the show again this year,” said Dragons’ Den producer Molly Duignan. “We were really happy with the turnout. We saw some unique things. People were prepared and excited about the opportunity and that’s what we like to see.” Hopefuls had the opportunity to prepare for the Tuesday auditions at the Seaside Centre in Sechelt with a workshop the day before, sponsored by M. Magas and Associates Inc. and HolyCrap.ca.
The free event saw about 40 people come out to learn how to craft their presentation in a way that would gain the attention of the producers.
Attendees also had the opportunity to talk to three local entrepreneurs (Sarah Doherty of SideStix, Eric Olsen of Vintage Sports Images and Brian Mullins of HolyCrap.ca) who have found success on the Dragons’ Den. “The training went very, very well. People found it to be quite good preparation for what to expect when they went in for an audition and what to expect if they made it onto the show,” said Niv Harris who facilitated the workshop.
She noted that not everyone who came to the workshop was from the Coast, however. “There might have been as many as 10 from other cities and they were going to audition in their home city, but they wanted to take advantage of the insider tips and the training,” Harris said.
The training did make a difference in the auditions. Duignan said presenters were well versed in the format they like to see. “People seemed to know the formula, which they often don’t,” she noted. Duignan was pleased with the pitches she saw in Sechelt, making special mention of The Green Man (John Conway), who made an impression. “I think The Green Man did a great job of doing what we always ask for — make a great first impression. He came in full costume and made his way up the stairs in his stilts so that was impressive,” Duignan said. “And we had a couple others. The Libre Tea lady stood out just because she has a very well-developed business. She already has sales, etc. and that’s something the Dragons really like to see.”
Whoever might have made the cut will find out in the coming weeks. Duignan said that anyone who gets a call to audition in front of the Dragons will have to come to Toronto for one day of filming on their own dime.
Auditions across the country end on March 31 in Toronto. At a special March 20 dinner hosted by Corin and Brian Mullins, makers of Holy Crap cereal, Sechelt Mayor John Henderson gifted a key to the municipality to the Dragons’ Den producers. He said the show’s exposure of Sechelt and impact on the local economy has been important. “Dragons’ Den fosters entrepreneurship that bolsters our local economy,” Henderson said.
“The episode taping in Sechelt created excitement in our community, focused public attention on entrepreneurship and created opportunities for other hopefuls.”