Co-owners Krista

Co-owners Krista

Enter the Dragons’ Den

Television show’s path educational, if not lucrative, for local participants

Whether it’s an attempt to find a wider audience for their product or service, or the need to inject capital into their operation, most Dragons’ Den hopefuls are looking for a partner to take their business to the next level.

But agreeing on-air to a deal is no guarantee of success, as some Greater Victoria entrepreneurs attest.

Ryan Lockhart’s pitch for his fits-all screwdriver bit earned him a deal with Dragon Arlene Dickinson on the episode that aired Feb. 17 on CBC: $60,000 for a 50-per-cent share and a royalty on units sold.

He hosted 125 people at a party that evening to watch the show, despite knowing the agreement struck at the show’s taping back in May 2011 ended Feb. 14 with the two agreeing to walk away.

Dickinson wasn’t convinced Lockhart’s unique product and his dream of creating a new line of “unstrippable” screws were enough to overthrow Canadian fastener icon Robertson, he said. But she liked his vision and energy and gave him her cellphone number to keep in touch.

“I’m a silver lining guy,” he said. “It was painful to be in this unknown for nine months, but it’s been helpful. I’ve had to work through everything.”

Lockhart has since secured a Calgary-based investor who appears to share his enthusiasm for his invention and ideas.

Jason Heit and Darren Owen, co-founders of professional mixed martial arts promoters Armageddon Fighting Championship, agreed to give Dragons Jim Treliving and Robert Herjavec a 30-per-cent stake in their company for $80,000 in 2010.

But as the months went by and Armageddon continued to put on shows – without seeing any cash from the Dragons – the original agreement made no sense, Heit said.

“So much time had elapsed that it just wasn’t the same deal,” he said. “A year-and-a-half later, our company had significantly grown.”

Armageddon has since teamed up with other promoters to form Aggression Fighting Championship, which Heit characterizes as the “biggest MMA promoter in Canada.”

WannaWafel founder Renaat Marchand and his son, Arno, agreed to take $100,000 for a 50-per-cent stake with Treliving in May 2010.

Marchand never saw the money and says he got little help from the Boston Pizza owner’s company to move the deal forward. Like Lockhart and the MMA partners, Marchand grew frustrated waiting and let the deal lapse.

A subsequent partnership with a local businessman developed 10 franchises across the country. But the relationship soured and few of the franchises are truly active, with Grande Prairie, Alta. the lone bright spot.

Marchand and wife Krista still operate their stand in Market Square and roll out their famous waffle cart for special events. While the past couple of years have been tough financially and emotionally, Marchand remains hopeful about growing the business.

“From what we’ve learned I would say ‘no more partnerships,’” he said with a kind of weary optimism.

“We have to work on what we can control and what we do well. I’m still passionate about the formula and the product.”

Dragon facts


• Dragons’ Den originated in Japan and versions have emerged

in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, The Netherlands, Finland, in the Middle East

and of course

in Canada.

• Dragons’ Den airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBC Television.

• If you missed an episode of Dragons’ Den, you can watch full episodes online at or download Dragons’ Den from iTunes.

• The Dragons’ Den theme song is It’s Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth Is by Oasis.

Source: CBC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar is closing its doors until further notice after sexual assault allegations against an employee surfaced on social media. (Google Streetview)
Sexual assault allegations temporarily closing a second Victoria restaurant

Social media posts accuse an E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar employee of sexual assault

On Feb. 27, a construction vehicle remained on the site of the former encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue as part a clean-up effort. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Encampment between Pat Bay Highway, McKenzie Avenue cleared, all residents relocated

Efforts to disband encampment resumed after January fire

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Hells Angels prospect from Sooke to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich council opts to wait until amalgamation study can take place safely in-person

Victoria council, province must weigh-in on next steps for citizens’ assembly

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

President of the BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) Teri Mooring is calling for teachers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
It’s ‘urgent’ that B.C. teachers be vaccinated from COVID-19 before summer: BCTF

Enough isn’t being done to prevent virus transmission in schools, says president Teri Mooring

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2014, file photo, endangered orcas from the J pod swim in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen from a federal research vessel that has been tracking the whales. A new study from federal researchers provides the most detailed look yet at what the Pacific Northwest's endangered orcas eat. Scientists with the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center spent years collecting fecal samples from the whales as well as scales from the fish they devoured. They say their data reaffirm the central importance of Chinook salmon to the whales. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Study reinforces importance of Chinook to Pacific Northwest orcas

Data confirms how central the big salmon are to the orca’s diet year-round

Shiromali Krishnaraj arrives from India and receives a mandatory COVID-19 test at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. B.C.’s approved rapid tests also use a nasal swab, with a machine to scan for COVID-19 antibodies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s rapid COVID-19 tests have produced only two positive results

Tests deployed for exposures in schools, outbreaks in care homes, jails

BC Emergency Health Services confirmed that a call was received just before 10 a.m. Ground paramedics, as well as an air ambulance, are on the way to the area. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BREAKING: Helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

The Nanaimo bar display at the Nanaimo Museum. (City of Nanaimo Instagram)
City of Nanaimo points to correct recipe after New York Times botches batch of bars

City addresses ‘controversy’ around dessert square’s layers

A man holds a picture of Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. First Nation demands transparency in probe into second fatal RCMP shooting

‘Police have killed more Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members than COVID’

Most Read