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Dragons’ Den auditions come to Montreal

by The Concordian March 6, 2012
Montreal entrepreneurs seeking fame and fortune auditioned for a chance to be featured on CBC’s hit series Dragons’ Den on Saturday afternoon at Concordia’s EV building.
Clutching prototypes and props, over 35 hopeful entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to Dragons’ Den’s producers, as well as host Dianne Buckner. Appearing on Dragons’ Den could earn their business financial backing, advice from a Dragon and some much-needed exposure.
Some entrepreneurs have had an established business for years, but wanted an extra push from the Dragons so that their business could really take off.
Joyce Shanks sits on the round table at the David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise at Concordia. A Concordia alumna, this is her second year pitching her eco-friendly fundraising business, eCause Canada, to Dragons’ Den.
Shanks founded eCause Canada two years ago as a way to create Earth-friendly fundraisers for organizations and schools. It customizes promotional and marketing material, using only brands that emphasize sustainability and environmentally-friendly production.
“This is my daughter’s future and the future of the planet,” said Shanks. “I can’t go to sleep at night if I haven’t done something to make this a better world.”
Others pitched nothing more than an idea, hoping that the Dragons could help them turn raw innovation into a business.
Caroline Murphey decided to pitch to the show the night before the audition. The mother of two invented a boot strap that hooks onto pants to stop her daughter’s boots from getting stuck in the mud and snow. Her friends thought it was a clever product and encouraged her to audition.
“I feel happy that I’m doing something about the invention,” Murphey said. “But I’m going to have to ask them what the heck is my next step, because I’ve got no idea.”
Producer Michelle MacMillan has been with the show since its conception seven years ago and said Montreal is a promising stop on the auditions tour.
“The fact that the show has inspired so many entrepreneurs to give it a go is pretty cool.”
The show also held auditions for Future Now’s energy solution show airing June 3. It’s a special episode featuring energy efficient pitches, where the winner takes home $100,000 without having to give up any part of the company to the Dragons.
Shanks and other eco-friendly entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to Future Now after auditioning. Video clips of the entrepreneurs explaining their business ideas will be posted on the Dragons’ Den web page. Users can then vote for who they want to see featured on the Future Now episode.
The next round of Montreal auditions will be held March 24, 2012.

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1 comment

Joyce Shanks March 10, 2012 - 15:09

Just a comment on eCause Canada if I may. We can absolutely brand products for corporations or organizations BUT our REAL focus is replacing product fundraising items like candy bars and poor quality products with everyday useful, healthy and sustainable items like safe sunscreens, toys made of sustainable and recycled goods, food storage containers made of top quality stainless steel etc… Promotional products tend to be mass produced, and not necessarily well made, where the products we work with are always of the highest quality, and come from the production standards, and most products are North American made.

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