Greater Victorians pitch ideas to CBC’s Dragons’ Den

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

It was the second stop for the CBC-TV show’s producers, who are on a cross-country, 38-city audition tour to look for entrepreneurs with fresh new business ideas. 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 (of) butterflies,” Theresa Kauffman said of how she felt before meeting producers at the Inn at Laurel Point.

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

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

Many 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 the pant-hem cufflinks called Scufflinks, Green and Mitchell 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 them after their audition.

Show producers 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, who is 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.