It was a packed house at Meaford Hall last Wednesday night for the second annual Dragons’ Den Meaford presented by the Meaford & District Chamber of Commerce. At the night’s end, a grand total of almost $25,700 in cash and prizes was awarded to contestants who pitched their business ideas to a panel of five local business ‘Dragons’.
First place winner was Nicholas Schaut of Meaford with winnings in the amount of almost $11,000 in cash and prizes. Nicholas won the Dragons over with his idea of developing a farm business to grow hops organically for the craft brewing industry.
In second place was David French of Thornbury, who walked away with just under $9,000 in cash and prizes for his advanced technology to capture high definition aerial video.
In addition to almost $8,000 in Dragon contributions between them, the top two winners also received a share of $3,000 in cash donated by the Centre For Business & Economic Development. There were also numerous additional prizes from sponsors for the top two including media advertising packages, web hosting and design, and business bank accounts from financial institutions.
The competition featured twelve contestants who were invited to come prepared with their business pitches. Of those twelve, seven finalists, pre-determined by a Meaford Chamber selection committee, were called to the stage to present in a Price Is Right ‘come on down’ approach.
Of the other finalists, Meaford’s Darryl Hindle won $2,500 in cash and prizes for Quench Buggy, a water dispensing unit to help eliminate the use of plastic water bottles, particularly at public events. James McIntosh of Meaford received almost $1,800 in prizes for The Duxbury Cidre Co. Ltd., a business to manufacture hard cider and apple products from Meaford apples. Kathy Bell, also of Meaford, garnered almost $600 in cash and prizes for ePRESSions Electronic Press, an idea to help published authors format their work for the electronic marketplace. All seven finalists also received mentoring packages from the Business Enterprise Centre.
All proceeds from Dragons’ Den Meaford will go directly towards a bursary for a Georgian Bay Secondary School (GBSS) student pursuing a career in business or marketing.
This year’s Dragons were Paul Penny of Walker Mowers, Terry Scott of Scott Clay Products, Barbara Kay of The 100 Mile Market, Rick Galbraith of the Rotary Club of Meaford, and Liz Harris of the Meaford & District Chamber of Commerce. Returning as emcee was Wayne McFarlane.
Congratulations to all the winners and anyone who submitted business proposals. On behalf of the Chamber, a huge 'thank-you' goes out to the Dragons, our sponsors, the emcee, and all the volunteers and staff who contributed their time and talent to organizing this event, especially our tireless show producer Derron Bodell.