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Friday, November 13, 2009
Dancing in the Den
Mallory, Jennifer and Andrew.
They will be the three most nervous people in Canada today.
All three twenty-somethings will be dancing for their entrepreneurial lives later today before stars from the "Dragons Den" in a live event held at the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto. Mallory, Jennifer and Andrew were chosen as "Primary Carriers", the top three finalists for a nationwide entrepreneurial talent search initiated by the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and PropertyGuys.com
The first-of-its kind initiative had young aspiring entrepreneurs competing for the operating rights of a PropertyGuys.com franchise, along with the financial support and mentorship required to help them succeed. The total prize package is worth nearly $100,000. The contest launched in September and combined YouTube style video submissions with the latest in social media to help determine the entries worthy of becoming finalists. Once the list was pared to the Top 10, contestants were asked to submit an essay describing "why" they are deserving of the top prize. The group was then narrowed down to the trio, deemed "most infected" with the entreprenurial gene:
Mallory MacDonald, age 22, from Halifax, Nova Scotia
Andrew Maconachie, age 24, from Barrie, Ontario, and
Jennifer Howarth, age 24, of Oakville, Ontario.
At high noon, Toronto time, all three will march into the cavernous Barbara Frum Atrium and make their final pitch before an estimated live audience of 500 people and "Dragons Den" stars Jim Treliving and Arlene Dickinson. Ken LeBlanc, CEO of PropertyGuys.com will serve as an "Honorary Dragon" to help complete the final phase of judging to determine who will walk away with their own franchise. Each of the three finalists will have about ten minutes to present their case and withstand the fire of the "Dragons" interrogations before a final decision is rendered on a prize package that will change the life of at least one aspiring young entrepreneur.
PropertyGuys.com knows what it is like being young and in business. The company began in 1998 when co-founder Ken LeBlanc was still in university. Since then, PropertyGuys.com has become nothing less than a Canadian franchise success story with over 120 franchises across the country. "Our three finalists are fanatical about becoming entrepreneurs," says LeBlanc. "They've definitely earned a shot at winning the big prize". Meanwhile, CYBF spokesperson Katrina White feels this initiative has been well worth the effort, adding, "The main idea behind the contest is to create awareness for the important role young entrepreneurs play within Canada's economy".
Major support for "YPG" came from the The Keg, WestJet, Delta Chelsea, CBC, The National Post and Botsford Productions. And thousands of people like you who helped spread the viral message through the power of social media.
No matter how it goes down, Mallory, Jennifer and Andrew will enjoy the experience of a lifetime when they get their turn in the pressure-cooker that awaits on this Fridy the 13th.
We will keep you posted on how it plays out today in T.O.
"I just believe that sometimes in life it's important to do something that seems impossible when you start"
p.s. .. former Mountie turned Boston Pizza magnate Jim Treliving is considered to be one of the kinder, gentler "Dragons". This recent interview might explain why.