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Dragons' Den producers headed to Kelowna

Producers of the Canadian TV series Dragon's Den will be in the Okanagan by month's end, scouting for telegenic business talents.

The Kelowna pit-stop is part of nationwide hunt for a new crop of entrepreneurs willing to face the Dragons in a bid to score some high-powered financial backing for their business ventures.

The stakes are even higher this year, as Dragon's Den and Shell Canada have partnered for a special  "future now" energy innovation episode airing June 3, 2012. Three finalists will pitch their energy innovations to the Dragons, and the winning pitch will receive $100,000 from Shell Canada to help make their idea a reality.

Producers have also pointed out that age is no barrier and young entrepreneurs who think they have the money-making chops to take on the savviest business tycoons in the country,  may be featured in an all students special.

This time last year, Kelowna business woman Kim Williams was getting a chance to see how her bid for the Dragons' financial backing played out on national TV.  She sailed through the audition process, then went to Toronto in search of $100,000, which she was willing to  exchange for 40 per cent of  her business, Wild Kingdom.

“It was a unique experience and I was pleased with myself,” she told the Capital News last year.

“I arrived at a 6:30 a.m. in my business suit, with my products in tow, and the producer helped me with everything, and they treated me really great.”

Williams recalled there was a lot of "back and forth" between her and the judges, as they tried to suss out what made Wild Kingdom any more franchise-worthy than other stores, but she said she held her ground.

“You really have to go there and know what you’re talking about…I studied for months and I know everything about every Dragon and I went in there with the numbers,” she said, referring to how she made her business case.

That said, those aspiring to take up where Williams left off had better get their ducks in a row, apply   online and bring a completed application form to the audition. Then entrepreneurs should be prepared to pitch their business in under five minutes.

Open auditions are coming to Kelowna on Thursday, Feb. 23 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Okanagan School of Business, 1000 K.L.O. Road. Additional tour dates from coast to coast are listed online at www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/auditions

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