Producers for CBC’s Dragons’ Den came to Victoria last weekend to see the inventive, quirky and ingenious inventions and businesses the Island has to offer.
With auditions in 45 cities across the country, they never know what they may see, said senior producer Molly Middleton.
“We’ve seen everything from children’s products to an electric chopper bike, we’ve seen interlocking cement block systems to apps,” she said.
Kevin Dovelle was hoping for a chance to present his revolutionized bowling alley idea to the Dragons. His concept makes the activity easier for all ages and abilities because Dovelle says, no one likes to do something they aren’t good at.
“The large percentage of the population do not go back because who wants to pay money to throw nine balls into the gutter out of 10,” Dovelle said.
One of the biggest groups he hopes to target is seniors living in retirement homes.
“Let’s face it, a lot of these people are sitting there miserable, family isn’t visiting anymore and they are sick of canasta.”
More than 5,000 Canadians a year apply to the show, with approximately 250 selected to fly to Toronto to audition in front of the Dragons themselves.
Cindy Hatt and her husband Dave, owners of The WetCleaner in Victoria, were given that opportunity of a lifetime, and a deal, with the Dragons last year.
The Hatt’s WetCleaner is a non-toxic dry cleaning system.
“It’s a way of legitimizing your business, everything that comes out is a bonus,” said Cindy Hatt.
The Hatts decided to audition after a friend was on the previous season. They were offered a deal from Jim Treliving, known for his Boston Pizza franchise.
“We weren’t too nervous because we have to prove ourselves to our customers everyday,” she said.
Cindy Hatt’s biggest worry? Making it across that industrial themed set.
“My whole concern was getting across that top platform and not falling.”
What you didn’t see during the Hatt’s pitch was a shoe compliment from Arlene Dickinson, the only female Dragon.
“They are pretty hard-nosed but it was a nice way to warm up,” Cindy Hatt said.
Approximately 30 pitchers attended this years’ Victoria auditions, all with hopes of making it to Toronto.
Dragons’ Den airs Wednesday nights on CBC.