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Dragons’ Den: Arlene Dickinson teases her Season 12 return

A new night and a returning favourite are among the changes afoot for Dragons’ Den as CBC’s veteran reality series returns for Season 12. After exiting the program in 2015 to follow, as she said at the time on her Facebook page (“some big dreams, ones I want and need to chase”), Arlene Dickinson is back and ready to do battle.

Things have evolved on Dragons’ Den since she’s been gone. First, the series moves to Thursdays at 8 p.m. And second, three Dragons—Joe Mimran, Manjit Minhas and Michele Romanow—who moved in after Dickinson left. Jim Treliving and Michael Wekerle return for Season 12, meaning Dragons’ Den has six business moguls on a panel split evenly into a trio of men and women. What hasn’t been altered is the shows winning formula: budding entrepreneurs enter the studio and pitch their business idea to the Dragons in hopes of scoring a business deal.

We spoke to Dickinson ahead of Thursday’s two-hour season return:

One of the things you say during Thursday’s episode is that you left the show to found District Ventures. Did working on Dragons’ Den and having entrepreneurs in front of you influence your decision to begin this accelerator program?
Arlene Dickinson: That was certainly a big piece of it. After spending all of those years in front of people, particularly entrepreneurs in the health and food sector, and they just weren’t getting the traction that I thought they should. I kept thinking to myself, ‘Food and health is so critical in the world today and Canada has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in both areas, I’m going to find a fund that does this.’ I realized there wasn’t one and that really got me going and led me to go out and support that particular area.

You also mention in the episode that you were called and asked to return. Were you called every year since you left?
No, no. When I left, I was pretty certain I wanted to go on and do the things that I did and would need a couple of years to do that and they knew that too. I’m guessing [the producers] said, ‘Hey, maybe she’s pitchable now.’

It seems as though with every season the pitches continue to get better and more complete. Do you agree?
Yes. I think there are two things that have happened over the course of time. Maybe three. The first thing is that the pitchers are definitely better. There are bigger businesses and are coming in prepared and know who they want to speak to. And the female entrepreneurs are showing up with more confidence and a little bit more assured about what they can offer, what they do and are building a business and that’s awesome to see as well.

There are three ladies on the Dragons’ Den panel this season. Is that representative of what the business world is like now? Is there gender parity in the boardroom?
It’s certainly not that way in the senior boardrooms of corporations. It’s not anywhere near that. I think the percentage is somewhere around 17 to 20 per cent of females are in the boardroom. It’s still really still one in five. But entrepreneurs are a different story. There are more and more women going into entrepreneurial endeavours, so we’re seeing a lot more women starting up businesses and doing them home or going out and doing them as a career choice. It’s definitely growing for sure. I think more women than men, actually, are starting up businesses.

You hadn’t worked with Joe, Manjit or Michele on Dragons’ Den before. What’s that experience been like?
It takes a while to get used to the dynamic or everyone, so it took me awhile to understand where they were coming from and how they approached deals. There is a constant yin and yang because we’re competing for deals, we’re competing to be heard, we’re competing to talk. [Laughs.] So it takes awhile to pick up on each other’s style. It was certainly very interesting for me and kept me on my game and on my toes.

Were you, overall, impressed with the pitches you saw this season?
For sure. There were some really great deals this year. Some that I was really happy that I was able to get and some that I was not so happy that I didn’t get! [Laughs.] That’s kind of the way it happens. In terms of the calibre of the entrepreneurs, yeah, fantastic. There is so much innovation going on in Canada and innovation without an entrepreneur is just an idea.

What can you tell me about District Ventures?
District Ventures capital has raised about $30 million to go out and invest in entrepreneurial companies that are in the food, beverage and health and wellness consumer goods. We’re out in the market doing deals. I wish I had done this 10 years ago because it’s so much fun. It’s also hard work. The accelerator has become Canada’s top accelerator for health and wellness and it’s been a really interesting journey in learning about the mentoring and training and programming you need to give entrepreneurs what they need to be successful.

Dragons’ Den airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

 

 

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Arlene Dickinson returns to Dragons’ Den for Season 12

From a media release:

CBC today announced that renowned Canadian entrepreneur and venture capitalist Arlene Dickinson will return to DRAGONS’ DEN for Season 12 of the series. Hosted by Dianne Buckner, Season 12 will mark the first time there will be six dragons as Dickinson joins Jim Treliving, Joe Mimran, Manjit Minhas, Michael Wekerle and Michele Romanow in the Den. Following entrepreneur auditions across the country, the new season of DRAGONS’ DEN will begin shooting this month at the CBC Broadcasting Centre in Toronto for a fall 2017 launch on CBC.

Known for such notable deals as OMG Candy and Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, Dickinson joined DRAGONS’ DEN in Season 2 in 2007 and left in 2015 after eight seasons to launch District Ventures Capital, a fund aimed at investing in innovative food and health based businesses. Having raised approximately $30 million, Dickinson is ready to put the capital to work.

She also launched District Ventures, Canada’s first accelerator focused on early-stage food and health businesses, and the District Ventures and IBM Innovation Space, a technology hub that connects large enterprise to entrepreneurs.

Dickinson is one of Canada’s most renowned marketing communications entrepreneurs. As CEO of Venture Communications, her creative and strategic approach has turned the company into a powerhouse with a blue chip client list. Her success and leadership has been recognized with multiple honours and awards including Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 and the Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence as well as PROFIT and Chatelaine’s TOP 100 Women Business Owners. Dickinson is also the best-selling author of two books, Persuasion and All In.

A generous philanthropist, supporter of many important causes and mother of four and grandmother of seven, Dickinson is an Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy and is the recipient of honorary degrees from Concordia University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Saint Mary’s University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. She sits on several private and public boards, and is the proud recipient of The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

A CBC original production, DRAGONS’ DEN returns for season 12 in fall 2017. Theatre and venture capital collide as aspiring entrepreneurs from across Canada vie for a coveted spot in the Den to pitch potentially profitable business investments to some of the nation’s most successful tycoons. The Dragons use their own money and know-how and have the power to catapult companies into home-grown business success stories. Stakes are high as good deals may be rewarded, but there’s also the risk that bad ideas will get burned. One of Canada’s most successful unscripted programs, DRAGONS’ DEN offers audiences a front-row view as the country’s top business moguls wheel and deal with entrepreneurs who dare to brave the Den. Tracie Tighe is executive producer. Dianne Buckner hosts.

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Link: Dragons’ Den prepares for an 11th season of deals and disappointment

From Simon Houpt of The Globe and Mail:

Link: Dragons’ Den prepares for an 11th season of deals and disappointment
And after all these years, they’re still trooping up to Studio 40 on the tenth floor of the CBC Broadcasting Centre: The hopeful and the hard-nosed, the crafty and the oblivious, their dreams and sometimes their nest eggs banking on four minutes of national airtime. Many walk away forlorn, roadkill among the bickering Dragons. “You come in, you have a lot of great things to say, but the Dragons are ultimately, like, five egomaniacs with all the money,” one producer cautioned a pitcher. “So you also have to then appeal to them. You need them. So you need to go both ways.” Continue reading.

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Dragons’ Den audition tour commences in preparation for new season

From a media release:

It’s time for all aspiring entrepreneurs to get their business pitches ready for a chance to be a part of DRAGONS’ DEN’s incredible 12th season on CBC. This February, producers will once again head coast to coast on a multi-city audition tour in search of the country’s best businesses in need of a Dragon investment.

As in previous years, auditions will be open to the public, kicking off in Toronto on Feb. 11 in the Barbara Frum Atrium at CBC’s Toronto headquarters (250 Front Street West). A full list of audition dates and cities are listed below, and venues can be found online via the DRAGONS’ DEN website (cbc.ca/dragonsden/auditions).

The audition tour welcomes participants of all ages, with businesses at any stage of development. Hopeful entrepreneurs should prepare to pitch their concept to the DRAGONS’ DEN producers in five minutes or less. If they show the producers they have what it takes to pitch in the Den, they could be invited to Toronto to face the Dragons. Prospective pitchers are encouraged to apply online and bring a completed application form to the audition.

Producers will be on the lookout for entrepreneurs in the following cities:

  • Feb. 11 – Toronto, ON
  • Feb. 15 – Fort McMurray, AB
  • Feb. 15 – Richmond, BC
  • Feb. 15 – North Bay, ON
  • Feb. 16 – Edmonton, AB
  • Feb. 17 – Nanaimo, BC
  • Feb. 17 – Windsor, ON
  • Feb. 18 – Calgary, AB
  • Feb.18 –  London, ON
  • Feb.18 –  Vancouver, BC
  • Feb. 22 – Collingwood, ON
  • Feb. 23 – Belleville, ON
  • Feb. 24 – Kingston, ON
  • Feb. 25 – Barrie, ON
  • Feb. 25 – Montreal, QC
  • Feb. 25 – Ottawa, ON
  • March 1 – Grand Prairie, AB
  • March 1 – Oshawa, ON
  • March 2 – Fredericton, NB
  • March 3 – Abbotsford, BC
  • March 3 – Charlottetown, PE
  • March 4 – Halifax, NS
  • March 4 – Hamilton, ON
  • March 4 – Vancouver, BC
  • March 9 – Waterloo, ON
  • March 9 –  Kelowna, BC
  • March 11 – Calgary, AB
  • March 11 – Victoria, BC
  • March 15 – Guelph, ON
  • March 17 – Quebec City, QC
  • March 18 – Montreal, QC
  • March 22 – Regina, SK
  • March 24 – Saskatoon, SK
  • March 25 – Niagara Falls, ON
  • March 25 – Winnipeg, MB
  • April 1 – Toronto, ON

 

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CBC announces fall broadcast dates for new and returning series

From a media release:

CBC today announced premiere dates for its fall 2016 television season, featuring a diverse and uniquely Canadian slate of six new and 18 returning series including premium drama and comedy, cutting-edge news and investigative content, original documentaries and engaging factual, arts, kids, daytime and sports programming.

New primetime series include THIS IS HIGH SCHOOL (6×60), premiering Sun. Oct 2, which will offer unprecedented and unfiltered access to real life at a Canadian high school; comedy KIM’S CONVENIENCE (13×30), the funny, heartfelt story of a Korean-Canadian family running a convenience store in Toronto, premiering Tues. Oct. 4; and political thriller SHOOT THE MESSENGER (8×60), premiering Mon. Oct. 10, which centres on the complex relationships between crime reporters and the police.

CBC’s daytime programming welcomes the highly anticipated one-hour weekday program THE GOODS on Mon. Oct 3, hosted by Steven Sabados, Jessi Cruickshank, Shahir Massoud and Andrea Bain, who will offer playful inspiration and information on home, style, food and wellness; while new Kids’ CBC original series include the Tues. Sept 6 world premiere of animated adventure DOT. (52×11), based on the children’s book by entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg, and photography competition series SNAPSHOTS (6×30), premiering Sat. Sept. 10.

Returning for new seasons are CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON (season 3); DRAGONS’ DEN (season 11); EXHIBITIONISTS (season 2); HEARTLAND (season 10); HELLO GOODBYE (season 2); MR. D (season 6); MURDOCH MYSTERIES (season 10); RICK MERCER REPORT (season 14); THE ROMEO SECTION (season 2); THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES (season 24); and THIS LIFE (season 2). Also returning are acclaimed news and investigative programs MARKETPLACE (season 44) and the fifth estate (season 42); thought-provoking documentary series FIRSTHAND (season 2); David Suzuki’s THE NATURE OF THINGS (season 56); and weekly CBC Sports series ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES.  THE MOBLEES (season 2) and BIG BLOCK SINGSONG (season 3) return for new seasons on Kids’ CBC.

The complete CBC fall premiere schedule is as follows:

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
7:45 a.m. (8:15 NT) — The Moblees

8 a.m. (8:30 NT) — Dot. *NEW SERIES*

8:23 a.m. (8:53 NT) — Big Block Singsong

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
9 a.m. (9:30 NT) — Snapshots *NEW SERIES*

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2
4:30 p.m. (5:00 NT) – Exhibitionists

7 p.m. (7:30 NT) — Heartland

8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — This is High School *NEW SERIES*

9 p.m. (9:30 NT) — This Life

MONDAY, OCTOBER 3
2 p.m. (2:30 NT) — The Goods *NEW SERIES*

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4
8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — Rick Mercer Report

8:30 p.m. (9 NT) — This Hour Has 22 Minutes

9 p.m. (9:30 NT) — Kim’s Convenience *NEW SERIES*

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5
8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — Dragons’ Den

9 p.m. (9:30 NT) — The Romeo Section

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6
8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — The Nature of Things: “Pompeii’s People”

9 p.m. (9:30 NT) — Firsthand: “Road to Mercy”

MONDAY, OCTOBER 10
8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — Murdoch Mysteries

9 p.m. (9:30 NT) — Shoot the Messenger *NEW SERIES*

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11
9:30 p.m. (10 NT) — Mr. D

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21
8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — Marketplace

8:30 p.m. (9 NT) — Hello Goodbye

9 p.m. (9:30 NT) — the fifth estate

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22
4 p.m. ET (1 pm PT) — Road to the Olympic Games

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13
8 p.m. (8:30 NT) — Canada’s Smartest Person

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