Thursday, March 18, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Wednesday, March 17, 2010)

The Dragons proxies are coming, charges in the sinking of the Queen of the North and the school closure process begins to wind down with a vote scheduled for Tuesday, some of the items of interest from Wednesday's news files.

Front page, headline story
CBC TELEVISION'S DRAGON'S DEN AUDITIONING IN PRINCE RUPERT -- From the internet portals of podunk to the front page of the paper, details of the upcoming opportunity for locals to offer up their inventions to an advance team of the CBC program Dragon's Den. As was previously detailed on the local discussion portal hackingthemainframe and as this blog provided some backrgound on last Thursday, producers for the popular CBC program are coming to town to see if they can find the next great thing on the North Coast. Successful candidates may very well find themselves on stage in Toronto showcasing their plans for the daunting Dragon's Den panel.

George T. Baker outlines the charges facing former Queen of the North crewmember Karl Lilgert, that after the Crown  introduced charges in Vancouver court on Tuesday (though the Daily advises incorrectly that the charges were laid on Wednesday). As we outlined on the blog early Tuesday afternoon, the day the charges were taken out, the decision to move forward with a a case of Criminal Negligence in criminal court comes almost four years to the day that the vessel sank after striking Gil Island.

A recap of Monday night's final school closure consultation was provided in the Wednesday edition, with George T. Baker outlining the developments in a half filled hall at Charles Hays Secondary, as School District trustees and administrators prepare to bring to an end the process of school closure. The final session and definitive vote is set for next week again at CHSS on Tuesday at 7 pm.

The decision of the Federal Government to move away from funding the ecoEnergy program elicits generally an amazed response from two local proponents of wind power on the North Coast.The decision by the government, which we examined on the blog  on March 8, has left the two local project operators to wonder about the Federal Government's commitment towards alternative energy sources.

A review of some of the action of the weekend Men's bonspiel at the curling club and a preview of Thursday night's clash set for 7 pm, between high school hockey teams were the featured items of the Sports section for Wednesday.

(Archive for Daily News Articles for March 17, 2010 )

CBC Television’s Dragon’s Den auditioning in Prince Rupert 
Charges laid for Queen of the North 
No ecoEnergy makes no sense 
Community steps up to help Scholten daughters 
School meetings drawing to a close

The Northern View
No new items were posted to the Northern View website for Wednesday

CFTK TV 7 News
No new items were posted to the CFTK TV 7 website for Wednesday

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North 
No updates to the CBC website have been made since March 5th

The most recently posted items archive for Daybreak North can be found here

Daily News, front page, headline story
CBC Television’s Dragon’s Den auditioning in Prince Rupert
 By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

 North Coast entrepreneurs could have the chance to prove their business skills on CBC television’s Dragon’s Den.

The show will be stopping in Prince Rupert on March 31 during an epic audition tour across Canada.

Two of the show’s producers, Molly Duignan and Colin Dawson, will be conducting the auditions from noon until 7 p.m. in the B.C. Room at the Crest Hotel.

“We were contacted about a month ago,” said the hotel’s manager Scott Farwell.

“They need a place to conduct the auditions and a common area for people auditioning to line up, but there’ll be no public viewing.”

The auditions will be ‘first come first served’ and it is anticipated that people will start showing up early in the day. 

Fresh off its highest-rated season yet, with five seasons under its belt, the show is visiting 40 communities across Canada to conduct auditions. Each year auditions are held, but this is the first time they are being held in Prince Rupert and Grand Prairie, said the show’s host Dianne Buckner.

“We generally go to all the major cities in Canada and each year have added a few more,” Buckner told the Daily News.

The show provides Canadians with business ideas the opportunity to win $100,000 in investment and/or receive constructive criticism from the Dragons – Arlene Dickinson, Robert Herjavec, Kevin O’Leary, Jim Trevliving and W. Brett Wilson.

Since the show began, Buckner has noticed that people on the show are becoming more and more savvy at pitching ideas. “It’s amazing,” Buckner said.

 “Things keep getting better and better and higher quality.”

 Buckner encourages people wanting to audition in Prince Rupert to arrive prepared to make a pitch as if they are actually competing.

 “The producers want to see what they would see on television,” Buckner commented. “They should bring prototypes, samples, demonstrations and show the producers what they have to offer. We’ve only got so many spots on the show.”

 People have to know their numbers, Buckner added. “Numbers don’t feel very exciting to some people, but the show really is an investment contest. The Dragons want to know that you know your numbers. You should be able to talk about profit margins, competitors and the market. The Dragons are actually reaching into their own bank accounts so they do have the right to ask those questions.”

 According to Buckner, the producers holding the auditions will be expecting contestants to convince them in the same way the Dragons do on the show.

 “The Dragons want to know that people are going to make money with their money. They don’t want to get their money back, but to see it grow. It’s a challenge for sure and it’s not for everyone,” Buckner said of the show’s premise.

 Knut Bjorndal, General Manager of Community Futures Development Corporation of the Pacific Northwest, said his staff is willing to help people with business plans go through a mock presentation in preparation for auditions.

“There are a few people in the community right now working on business plans and if they were to receive funding from the Dragon’s Den, that would be great for Prince Rupert,” Bjorndal said.

 Lucia McCann, small business counsellor for Hecate Strait Employment Development Society, said she has alerted all her business clients about the auditions. “I’ve heard about two people that are thinking of auditioning,” McCann confirmed.

Echoing Buckner’s pointers for selling a business plan, Bjorndal agreed people have to have a good handle on numbers. “You better have a darn good marketing plan and understand your competition. You need to have a human resources plan. If your business needs 25 employees, that’s a big component. Then there’s your cash flow, your balance sheet, and the need to be able to look three or five years down the road,” Bjorndal explained.

Buckner and Bjorndal view the show as a win-win situation, whether entrepreneurs successfully gain Dragon investment or not. “People are receiving advice about business plans and how to turn them into a viable business,” Bjorndal commented.

According to Buckner, people coming on the show receive an honest assessment and some direction.

“You can’t lose because at the least, you’re getting your idea out to the rest of Canada.”

 Last season the show featured around 200 entrepreneurs, roughly ten on each show. “We had 2,000 people apply from coast to coast and I expect we might get more people auditioning this year because it continues to grow each year,” Buckner said.

She attributes this year’s ratings for the show being the highest they’ve ever been to the fact that the show is connecting with the public. “The ratings are directly based on the reality that more people know about the show.” Kids across Canada are tuning into the show regularly.

While Buckner believes it’s because there are stacks of money on the table, she also thinks it’s the presence of “badly behaved grownups” on the show that keeps younger audiences intrigued.

 “The Dragons are rubbing, insulting and disputing with one another,” she said. Tonight the show airs at 8 p.m.

Senior media consultant Renee Mellow said there will be big profiles of each of the Dragons and the show will be very “emotional.”

Aside from the auditions, the Dragon’s Den is also looking for Canada’s best Greenvention. Eco-preneurs can pitch their green inventions at local auditions or online until Thursday, April 22 (Earth Day), for a chance to win $100,000.

With its launch of the world’s first 100% compostable chip bag of its kind, the SunChips brand is asking Canadians “what’s your Greenvention™”?

For more details, please visit