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Dragons’ Den hopefuls pitch unique ideas at Victoria auditions

Sabrina Pacheco, carrying her props, stands in a hallway after an audition for the CBC TV series The Dragons
Sabrina Pacheco, carrying her props, stands in a hallway after an audition for the CBC TV series The Dragons' Den at the Laurel Point Inn. Sabrina and partner Theresa Kauffman were pitching their children's clothing store Rockbebe, situated in Mayfair Mall. The two women were hoping for money to expand the number of stores they operate.
— image credit: Don Denton/News staff

From a naughty adult gingerbread-making kit to a voice-automated house to custom-made walking canes, dozens of ideas were pitched at the annual Dragons' Den auditions in Victoria Thursday.

It was the second stop for CBC TV show producers who are on a cross-country 38-city audition tour to look for entrepreneurs with fresh new business ideas. If successful, applicants will be asked at the end of March to pitch their concepts and request money from five wealthy businesspeople in front of the TV cameras in April and May.  

"Victoria is one of our bigger (stops). We always find such good people there," said Michelle MacMillan, an associate producer with the show.

“It’s a little bit butterflies,” Theresa Kauffman said of how she felt before meeting producers at the Inn at Laurel Point.

She and her business partner Sabrina Pacheco sell designer and brand name clothing for babies to youth at their Rockbebe store in Mayfair Shopping Centre. They hope to expand and franchise their enterprise with the dragons' financial help.

“I think it gives you a shot to put yourself out there,” Pacheco said of the benefits of appearing on the show.

Many of the applicants arrived with props and mannequins, poster boards and laptops, and like Esquimalt's Jeremy Green and Victoria resident Josh Mitchell most came away from the experience with advice.

The masterminds of pant hem cufflinks they call Scufflinks were advised to work out their business plan and continue honing their pitch in case they are selected to face the dragons.

"We like it. We like both you guys, like the product. We like the energy," executive producer Tracie Tighe told the men after their audition.

Show producers say they are looking for the complete package: fresh concepts and passion.

"It's been five really successful seasons, so now the big challenge for people will be finding a new idea that manages to be something we haven't seen before," said MacMillan, also involved in the audition process.

Among the 3,000 applicants they see every year, more and more established businesses are being showcased. But ideas fresh off the page are just as welcome.

“We've got to see concepts because these people won't ever get the opportunity to meet people like the dragons," MacMillan said.

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

Did you know?

About 300 people will get to pitch their ideas to the dragons in April and May.

About 10 per cent of those will come from Greater Victoria.

About 150 people will actually appear on TV, the rest end up on the cutting room floor.

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