Aspiring entrepreneurs audition for Dragon’s Den at DC Oshawa campus

Student, employee and community entrepreneurs had the exciting opportunity to pitch their ideas and concepts to producers of the hit CBC-TV television show, Dragon’s Den at Durham College (DC) on March 2.

The show, now in its 11th season, is embarking on a nation-wide tour to find new business concepts and products that will be presented on air in front of Canada’s top business moguls. Aspiring entrepreneurs had 15 minutes or less to wow producers. If they proved successful, they will move on in the process for a chance to secure a financial investment that may help turn their dreams into reality.

“It was a pretty cool experience,” said Greg Moran, professor and faculty research co-ordinator for DC’s School of Skilled Trades, Apprenticeship & Renewable Technology and Centre for Food, who auditioned for the show. “Getting ready in the waiting room with the other entrepreneurs and sensing the excitement was fun. If anyone has an idea, they shouldn’t be nervous about failure, but should get out there and give it their best shot. They’ve got nothing to lose and the world to gain.”

The day also provided a hands-on learning experience for young student entrepreneur, Jennifer Whyte, who was selected to volunteer with the CBC-TV producers throughout the auditions.

“I was thrilled at the chance to see first-hand how the audition process worked, and to meet and speak with all the people who were auditioning,” said Whyte, a second-year student in the Entrepreneurship and Small Business – Business program at DC. “I learned there is no limit to your dreams and ideas, and bringing your business to fruition. As an entrepreneur, working mostly on your own, sometimes you need a break such as a chance for some exposure, like Dragon’s Den, but even if you don’t get that, you learn valuable lessons. You learn from your mistakes and from the constructive criticism, and hopefully you will move forward and keep trying.”

Whyte, owner, operator and labourer of an urban, organic farm located in north Oshawa called BareFoot Veggies, was also chosen to participate in the DC Winter Accelerator program – an initiative to help students and graduates take their innovative ideas or business ventures to market faster while utilizing the professional services from an experienced support team.

The Accelerator program is part of the FastStart initiative, an entrepreneurial training partnership aimed at university and college students. Through the partnership, DC is committed to helping students increase their entrepreneurial skills and awareness while assisting with the creation of solid business plans designed to help them take their products and services to market quickly and successfully.

“DC is a strong supporter of entrepreneurship, here on campus and within the community and this was an excellent opportunity to foster innovation in Durham Region, ”said Debbie McKee Demczyk, director, Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at DC. “Through FastStart, DC was pleased to work with CBC-TV to bring Dragon’s Den to Durham Region. We welcome partnerships that strengthen entrepreneurship and generate access for students and others in the community to showcase their innovative ideas.”