Kamloops entrepreneur brings dogs, and poop, into 'Dragon’s Den' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Kamloops entrepreneur brings dogs, and poop, into 'Dragon’s Den'

Kamloops inventor Nicole Duff received a certificate honouring her completion of a pitch on Dragon's Den.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Nicole Duff

Nicole Duff is the inventor of SlyPod, a tool for carrying and disposing of dog poop in a more sophisticated and less gross way.

She was chosen to pitch her product, formerly called Walk Star Caddy, on CBC television’s Dragon's Den where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of Canadian business moguls who then decide whether or not to financially back them up.

Despite all of her best laid plans, preparation and practising, Duff’s entrance onto the stage was drastically different than she had hoped for. While she is not allowed to disclose whether a Dragon offered her a deal yet, Duff feels confident she made a memorable impression with her pitch.

“I won’t be surprised if it winds up on a blooper reel or something,” she said.

READ MORE: Kamloops woman's invention for dog poop goes international

Duff arrived in Toronto, May 5, and book into a hotel across from the studio where Dragon’s Den is taped. Her appearance was scheduled for the following day at 12:30 p.m.

She spent the next morning practicing her pitch and reviewing her business data.

“It was a high pressure situation,” she said. “I did some positive self-talk to get into the zone. I overcame my anxiety and felt empowered and confident.

“I had so much adrenaline going I wasn't tired at all despite the time change. I went for breakfast and practised more, then gathered the product and props and went in.”

Duff describes the following two hours she spent backstage as a whirlwind. She and the production staff set up the props, in her case, a nature scene. She ran through her pitch with the producer a few times and had a prop check.

READ MORE: Kamloops dog impaled by stick in freak fetch accident on the mend

“The senior producer gave me a pep talk and told me there was over 1,000 businesses that applied and I’m the one standing here today. I was like, ‘don’t waste your moment, Nicole.'"

Duff watched the cameras get set up, had a microphone put on and did a sound check. She was given a five second countdown before the doors opened and she walked onto the stage. But there was a curveball.

“I borrowed dogs,” Duff said. “I borrowed dogs I didn’t know. One was a producer’s dog, the other a producer’s friend’s dog. I shouldn’t have taken two, they are medium sized and I’m not a large person. I was being pulled across the stage. I’m trying to hold these dogs back thinking, ‘this is not starting out the way I planned it.'"

What happened next cannot be disclosed yet, but potentially could be included with the show airs later this year.

“I walked to my mark and started to pitch still struggling with the dogs,” she said. “I can’t give all the details but can say that poop was involved. I was distracted but got through it.”

READ MORE: How a Kamloops entrepreneur's invention makes dealing with dog poop less smelly and gross

Duff said she was disappointed things didn’t go as she had imagined. After the pitch she was bombarded with questions.

“They don’t call them dragons for no reason,” she said. “It is like facing the fire. These are fire-breathing dragons.”

The episodes of Dragon’s Den do not include every pitcher and the pitches are pared down to about seven minutes for television.  Each episode needs to be balanced with people who get deals and those that don’t.

Duff is hoping the dogs and the poop involved will help her pitch get aired.

“There were only two pet pitches this season,” she said. “I will find out four weeks before if I’m going to be aired and they will send me photos of me on set and time to promote that it is going to be on.”


To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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