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Dragons Den is coming to Calgary

By Julieanne Acosta, March 3 2023

Dragons Den is a CBC television show that goes across the country to find aspiring entrepreneurs and give them the opportunity to pitch their businesses to a panel of wealthy Canadian business moguls called the Dragons. 

Successful pitches will have the chance to get an investment from the Dragons to help their business — and Calgarians will get their chance this weekend. 

Producers of Dragons Den will be at the Sandman Hotel City Centre on March 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the following day at the same times. 

In an interview with the Gauntlet, Molly Middleton, senior producer of the Dragons Den talked about her experience working on the show. 

“This is my 17th season on the show and we are heading into season 18,” said Middleton. “I’ve grown up with this show like most of you who have watched it. I do a little bit of everything but right now we’re focusing on finding the next best and brightest crop of entrepreneurs to be featured on season 18 of the show,” said Middleton. 

After having to do things virtually, auditions can now happen in person as well. Middleton explains how the audition process works whether online or in person. 

“For the past two years, we’ve had to do everything virtually so we’re really excited to be able to see people in person again. We do also do auditions virtually so if someone were to miss the auditions this weekend, we could still get to them virtually. But nothing is as good as seeing, touching, tasting or feeling the business product that they are offering,” said Middleton. 

Middleton continues on about what Calgarians can expect at the in-person auditions coming up should they choose to audition. 

“It’s a mini Dragons Den experience without any frills and without any Dragons,” said Middleton. “It’s an open call meaning we’re there from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and you can come whenever you can within that time frame. Technically, everybody must apply online — but you could apply online after you audition or even while you’re waiting.” 

“It’s really nothing fancy — we’re far less scary than the real Dragons. You pitch to the producers, just like you would on the show. We ask you all the same questions the Dragons would and the expectation is that anyone coming has made an elevator pitch,” continued Middleton. 

While there are many success stories that have come out of Dragons Den, Middleton highlights two recent ones. 

“There’s a business that was on last year from Calgary called Twigz and they’re these new twists on pretzels. They got a million dollar deal from Arlene [Dickinson] and [while I was in Vancouver] and on every shelf was Twigz,” said Middleton. “I love people who are fundamentally solving a problem. There was a really cool business from last year called Lobster Made Easy from a small town in Nova Scotia. It’s a company that has figured out how to package and sell lobster in a way that you can put it in the microwave and in seven minutes you can have lobster that tastes amazingly fresh.” 

In closing, Middleton encourages those who have a business or idea to take this opportunity. 

“It’s really cool to be able to showcase entrepreneurship and small businesses the way we do because there’s not a lot of business journalism or business shows. Dragons Den has become a place where dreams can come true,” she said.

“How else do you find customers or potential investors from all over the country? Sometimes putting yourself out there in a way that challenges you is the most exciting thing you can do for your business, idea or product,” she continued. “If you have a business, product or idea that you are passionate about — you have to bring that passion. If you can’t sell the producers, you can’t sell the Dragons and most importantly, you can’t sell the rest of the country. 

To apply for in-person or virtual auditions, visit their website

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