Brett Wilson’s press release: DRAGON WITH A HEART LEAVES THE DEN

February 28, 2011

I wish Brett the best of luck (for him and for us fans) in finding a national broadcaster to partner and create “television programming focused on celebrating philanthropy in Canada“. I am curious if Brett will consider creating a TV program that showcase and encourage entrepreneurship in his Dragon with a heart way?

On a personal note, I have seen Brett in the last two years attending Banff World TV Festival (a few days in June in Banff where show creators, TV producers, broadcast executives from around the world attend to conduct businesses), it will be fun to see those business contacts help makes Brett’s show comes true.

For the record, here is Brett’s press release posted on his site this morning. (emphasis added) Update: Press release also available on MarketWire.


W. Brett Wilson leaves Dragons’ Den with challenge to CBC to evolve the show; continues his support for 30 Den deals and charity work for Canadians in need.

February 28th, 2011 – After three years on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, doing 60 plus deals in the Den and personally committing over $4.5 million in final deals with 30 Canadian entrepreneurs, W. Brett Wilson, the lead deal making Dragon, confirmed today that he will not return for the show’s next season. With his departure, Wilson is challenging both CBC and the Dragons to take encouraging Canadian entrepreneurship to another level and to constructively criticize, guide and sometimes finance the pitchers venturing into the Den.

Wilson also hinted at starting his own show to celebrate Canadian generosity through philanthropy and indicated he will continue to step-up his own work to raise money for Canadians in need.

The contract re-negotiations were complicated. The key issues were my availability and the use of show branding to promote Dragons’ Den deals. We were very, very close to a resolution. But we fell short for several reasons, but mostly we just ran out of time, for which I’m obviously disappointed. I would have loved to have done at least one more season’s worth of helping Canadian entrepreneurs’ dreams come alive,” said Wilson. “I remain very much committed to the concept of Dragons’ Den, to the amazing Canadians that show up in the Den to be tested and challenged, and to the many deals I’ve done through the show. Every deal has been for an interesting product, but more importantly, all came from great entrepreneurs in the making, many of whom I continue to personally coach and actively promote.” Selected highlights of Wilson’s Dragons’ Den deals and his ongoing work to support them, as well a high level summary of imminent public appearances are in the Backgrounder below.

When I joined Dragons’ Den, I told the producers I would continue – as I always have – to do deals with a social conscience and always with a tendency to invest in people over businesses, knowing that every business has speed bumps, and, that in the end, it’s ones’ key partners that are the primary determinants of the success or failure of an idea or a business,” Wilson said. Read the rest of this entry »


Brett Wilson leaving CBC Dragons’ Den

February 24, 2011

This morning, I am saddened to read from TorStar and Calgary Herald that Brett Wilson is leaving the CBC hit show Dragons’ Den. Here is an excerpt from TorStar,

Entrepreneur Brett Wilson is leaving the show Dragons’ Den at the end of the current season.

CBC-TV executive Julie Bristow says Wilson and the broadcaster could not agree on the terms of his contract.

Brett is a great guy and one of my most favourite Dragon on the show. I love the fact that Brett managed to find ways to close most of his Den’s deals. I like many of the businesses he invests in and secretly wish I could also invest in some of them if I am given the chance! (I won’t name them publicly here. :)

I will add more to this article if I have more to report.

I know I will miss watching Brett on the show. Good luck and all the best Brett.

P.S. On a personal note, in June 2008, Brett was really nice in agreeing to be video interviewed by me and he answered every question I had. It was a great pleasure to know Brett before he appeared on the Den. And I can honestly say Brett has always been the same easy going, friendly and nice guy. Here are links to part 1 and part 2 of the video interviews.

Note: For more updates (latest Feb 28th update with links to Brett’s official press release), see cross posted entry here.

Concrete Equities, $118 million, 3700 investors and many broken dreams

February 16, 2011

Before Concrete Equities went into receivership in spring 2009, it used to be a major advertiser/sponsor of CBC Dragons’ Den and many people got to know about the company through those ads. Sadly, “More than 3,700 investors, most of whom are from Calgary, lost more than $100 million through investments with Concrete Equities.” It is sad that many people had to learn the lesson in such a hard way.

For the record.

From CBC News “Alleged Alta. securities breaches under review” (Monday Feb 14, 2011) (emphasis added),

“A hearing into a Calgary real estate investment firm’s alleged breaches of Alberta securities law got underway Monday.

Four former directors of Concrete Equities, which went into receivership in 2009, are accused of acting as dealers without being registered, not filing prospectus and making misrepresentations to investors. […]

More than 3,700 investors, most of whom are from Calgary, lost more than $100 million through investments with Concrete Equities.

From Calgary Herald “Concrete Equities under scrutiny at hearing – ASC to determine if now-defunct Calgary company misled investors” (Feb 15, 2011) (emphasis added),

Monday, lawyers for the ASC outlined the case they hope to prove, which includes investors who were promised returns of more than 600 per cent and told the investments were risk free, as well as those who weren’t told of marketing commissions of between seven and 10 per cent being paid to Concrete Equities.

“You will hear evidence in the course of this hearing that Concrete Equities Inc., in raising capital in Alberta, failed to disclose certain information to its investors in its offering memoranda, which the investors will say was information that they would wanted to have known when they made their investment,” ASC counsel Andrew Wilson told the panel of three hearing the case. […]

The ASC allegations involve David Jones, David Humeniuk, Varun Vinny Aurora and Vincenzo De Palma and six limited partnerships.

Neil Narfason, a senior vice-president at receiver Ernst & Young, told the hearing Concrete Equities – which raised $118 million from 3,700 investors – couldn’t list all its bank accounts and had accounting and bookkeeping standards that were below expectations.

“All the basic stuff was not there,” Narfason said, referring to ledgers, financial statements, tax returns and bank statements that were missing or incomplete. “It’s unusual for a company in that business not to have a handle on funds.” Read the rest of this entry »

Brett Wilson on Shaw Vancouver – Feb 15, 2011

February 16, 2011

Here is a nice interview with Brett on Shaw Vancouver.

Ben Gulak TEDxIBYork talk

February 11, 2011

Ben Gulak with Uno bike prototype

Ben Gulak, a former Dragons’ Den entrepreneur, is one of the smartest young inventor/engineer that I know of. The following is a video clip of Ben’s TEDxIBYork talk. May be one day Ben will be Canada’s own James Dyson. Will see.

Note: Here are two previous entries about Ben.

3twenty Solutions gives new life to old shipping containers

February 4, 2011

3twenty Solutions‘ Bryan McCrea, Channing McCorriston & Evan Willoughby gave a wonderful pitch of their business on CBC Dragons’ Den. I love interesting use of containers, and I am impressed with the 3twenty‘s business and its tagline of “durable, stackable, transportable modular structures – give new life to old shipping containers”. Seem like a wonderful business idea with some good potentials. As a business, new entrants to the market can probably copy and compete with them without much difficulties but I trust the entrepreneurs will work very hard to ensure a good return for themselves and their investors.

Best of luck to the 3twenty team. Check out their Facebook, YouTube video, Twitter, and Flickr photos. Here is their pitch video on the Den.

Here is a CBC news video clip (posted in May 2010) about 3twenty going to the Den to ask for money with more details.

Snappy Socks

February 4, 2011

To me, Snappy Socks‘ Corla Rokochy is one of those entrepreneurs that has the can-do spirit. And she is also very likeable. It was wonderful to see her receiving investment from the Dragons (I can’t remember for sure but I think from Arlene and Brett).

The socks look cute and the snap-on button is a great idea. If there is one thing I don’t like about the business, it is that anyone can attach a snap-on button to their socks. And if the idea/business become successful, there is nothing stopping other copycat businesses from anywhere (including China) from attaching snap-on buttons to their socks. Hopefully, the initial investment will have generated enough returns for Corla and the Dragons by then, and Corla will have created new products to sell.

Best of luck to Corla and Snappy Socks!