Kelowna residents pitch Dragons

Dragon’s Den auditions have a fairly light showing in Kelowna

From teething toys to holistic dog food, the entrepreneurial spirit proved to be alive in Kelowna during auditions for the CBC program the Dragon’s Den.

Whether it’s doing well, however, remains to be seen.

The local leg of the program’s audition tour has in previous years drawn in hundreds of creative business types. By mid morning Thursday the turn-out looked a bit anemic, having only attracted 13 to pitch products and ideas.

Program producer Jane Chupick noted the change from last year, and said it was likely due to a reordering of their Canada-wide tour.

“This is the last stop in B.C.,” she said, noting that some locals may have gone to other cities to get a jump on presenting their business ambitions.

Chupick said that other spots along the trail also saw a lower turnout than previous years, though that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“The numbers are down, but quality is up this year,” she said. “Now we’re going back and talking about 90 per cent of the pitches, and before we used to talk about 10 per cent.”

At this year’s event there were a lot of inventions for producers to discuss.

One of the people vying for some attention from the Dragons was Geoff Sawyer.

The Peachland resident recently had a teething tot, and went shopping for something to calm his raging gums and found nothing that seemed boy-ish enough to chew on.

Sophie the Giraffe was about the only thing out there.

“It just wasn’t deserving,” said Sawyer.

So, he decided to take a run at Sophie and is designing Full Throttle Chompers. It’s a chew toy that looks like handlebars and Sawyer has high hopes it will be a success. He’s talked with various toy making experts that have guided him in his invention adventure, and he hopes the Dragons will push him to the next level.

On the other side of the spectrum was Elizabeth Ireland from Castlegar.

She has been making her holistic pet food for two wholesale companies and the farmers market for the last six years and it’s time to ramp up her operation.

To bring Sage Pet Foods to the next level she will need $115,000.

“I hope they see the writing is on the wall,” she said, explaining that holistic foods are the way forward.

“It’s more sustainable.”

Producers will hold auditions in more than 30 cities across Canada from January to March.

Show viewership has been on a decline since it hit a peak of 1.5 million Canadians per episode in 2011. It still does well, with last season attracting an average of 600,000 per episode.

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