Durham College alumna conquers the dragons

Lorelei Hepburn facing CBC's Dragons Den with her product, the Nemaglobe

Lorelei Hepburn, 1994 Durham College alumna, presents her Nemaglobe to the experts on CBC’s Dragon’s Den. The episode aired on June 7.

Durham College alumna Lorelei Hepburn, a 1994 graduate of the Environmental Technology program, successfully sealed a deal with all five industry dragons on the popular CBC series Dragon’s Den on June 7. The dragons offered to invest $250,000 in her company with 11 per cent royalty until accrued followed by 5.5 per cent in perpetuity.

The show, which used a greenvention approach for the episode in which Hepburn appeared, featured business people pitching their ideas to a panel of Canadian financial experts. Hepburn presented a Nemaglobe, a spherical biodegradable container with a natural worm inside that goes after and eliminates the white grubs in grass.

“When I auditioned, they loved the ball,” she said. “They found it humorous and good for TV.” The product is offered through her company, The Environmental Factor, which specializes in pesticide- and chemical-free lawn products.

Hepburn who says she was very nervous upon entering the den, prepared herself a year in advance for the fire-breathing team. “I do a lot of public speaking so I’m not usually nervous,” she said. “Numbers are very important so I rehearsed those with possible questions they might have had.”

Hepburn’s Nemaglobe proposal was originally set to air during May 2009 however producers felt the product was more suitable for the Greenvention episode. It’s rare for entrepreneurs to get all five dragons on board, so naturally, Hepburn was thrilled. “It was like a flurry,” she said. “I was not expecting all five at all.”

Following the show, Hepburn was swarmed by media and lawyers and had a package drafted up to send back to the dragons to negotiate the payments and loans.

In the end, an appropriate contract couldn’t be reached and as a result, Hepburn walked away from the deal. The DC alumna’s products are now a success in both Canada and the U.S. and plans for new products are in the works.

For more information about her products and the Environmental Factor, please visit www.environmentalfactor.com.