February 09, 2013 - 5:56 PM
By Shannon Quesnel
Television producers for CBC's Dragons Den got to see what South Okanagan inventors and entrepreneurs had to offer when they opened auditions in Penticton today.
One bright idea came an inventor who only goes by the name 'Franzi T.' He walked into the audition room at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College and placed a glow-stick on the table before associate producers Michelle MacMillan and Charlie Smith. Glow sticks are popular at raves and electronic music concerts but not aren't environmentally friendly and only work for a short time says Franzi T.
Then turned off the lights to show a better idea. He used a small laser pointer to trace glowing green lines on a jacket that stayed for five seconds or so before fading. The engineer says the lasers he uses are safe for human eyes. The jacket is made from special material he constructed. The light can be sourced from more than five metres away.
Franzi T says electronic music fans and ravers will love a chance to draw something on themselves or their friends. He sketched a heart on his chest with the laser.
The engineer and his business partner, who was not present, hope to win a spot on the CBC show and pitch their ideas in front of venture capitalists. In order to get a spot on the show, contestants first have to pitch their ideas in front of the producers.
Franzi T hopes to get $30,000 or more to get his new company a head start for the upcoming concert season. Right now there is only the one coat which a student of the college already tried to buy. The coats would sell for $200.
After the engineer came chef Trevor Cesarone of Kamloops. He brought in his brand of gluten-free wraps he is selling through his company True North Gluten. He sells the wraps at a lower price than his competitors. He also says his wraps are larger than the competition's and have the lowest sodium and fat content.
Cesarone hopes to win a spot on the show and get funding for a new factory to mass-produce them. He says the gluten-free industry was worth $4.2 billion in 2012 and it's only going to grow.
“The race is on,” he says.
Derek Snit is another business person with an eye for the future. He waited two hours at the Dragons' Den audition for a chance to show the producers how easy it is to install his company's Quik-Therm insulation and how it can meet today's energy-saving needs. He says building codes are getting more energy-minded all the time; good timing to get into the business.
Meanwhile, Janet Skolka and her two children, Jersey and Ryder, waited at a table beside Snit's. Skolka had a rack of high-end children's clothing with her. Her business, Jilly Bo Billy Boutique, buys samples, spares and over-stocked items from expensive boutique clothing manufacturers and sells them at discount prices. Ninety per cent of her business is done online but she now has a store in Nelson.
She wants to get on the show, win and get enough funding to buy more stock from her suppliers.
For more information on the show and future Dragons' Den auditions go to www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/auditions.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013