Updated: Mar 28, 2019
DRAGONS' DEN is on CBC Television and CBC Gem
One of Canada’s most successful unscripted programs and a CBC original production, DRAGONS' DEN offers audiences a front-row view as the country's top business moguls wheel and deal with entrepreneurs who dare to brave the Den. Hosted by Dianne Buckner, Season 13 will introduce two new Dragon investors Lane Merrifield and Vincenzo Guzzo, joining Arlene Dickinson, Jim Treliving, Manjit Minhas and Michele Romanow in the Den.
Meet The Dragons
“The purpose of marketing is to deliver business results,” says Arlene Dickinson, renowned Dragon Investor on CBC’s DRAGONS’ DEN and one of Canada’s most successful communications entrepreneurs.
Whether explaining how to leverage marketing in even the toughest of economic times, sharing backstage stories from “The Den,” or giving audiences a look into her personal story of success, Dickinson’s experience and expertise always shine through. Dickinson is one of Canada’s most renowned independent marketing communications entrepreneurs.
As CEO of Venture Communications, her creative and strategic approach has turned the company into a powerhouse with a blue-chip client list.
She is also the CEO of District Ventures Capital, a fund investing in Canadian companies in the food and health sectors. Dickinson is best known to Canadians as one of the venture capitalists on the award-winning series DRAGONS’ DEN, an investor on The Big Decision, and a judge on Recipe to Riches. She is the author of two best-selling books -- Persuasion, and her most recent best-selling release, All In.
Arlene's success and leadership has been recognized with multiple honors and awards including Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Award, the Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, as well as being recognized with PROFIT and Chatelaine magazine's TOP 100 Women Business Owners Awards. Dickinson is an Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy and is the recipient of honorary degrees from Mount Saint Vincent University, Concordia University, Saint Mary’s University and NAIT. She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal. She also sits on numerous public and private boards and is dedicated to giving back to her community and country.
Photo by CBC
This sassy entertainment mogul has disrupted the movie landscape by living and breathing the Canadian Dream. The only son of Italian immigrants, Guzzo always believed he could turn his dad’s small theatre business (along with his own law and business degrees) into the mega-scaled empire it is today. He just needed to take on the big guys. In 1998, Vincenzo did just that, when he sued the biggest movie competition in Canada to gain equal opportunity for the little guy to show first-run releases - and won! Twenty years later, Vincenzo is the President and CEO of Cinemas Guzzo, the number one operator in Quebec and the third largest movie exhibitor in Canada. His chain amasses 141 screens; 9 IMAX cinemas and 10 locations with three more set to open later this year. Size does matter to Cinemas Guzzo!
Not one to let opportunity pass him by, Vincenzo had another vision while building his multiplexes, this time creating opportunity for himself. All Cinemas Guzzo locations were built by another Guzzo holding, turning Le Groupe Guzzo Construction Inc. into one of the most successful general contracting outlets in Quebec.
Most recently, Vincenzo has expanded operations again and become a restaurateur-opening a chain of trendy Italian pork sandwich locations called Porchetta as well as two successful fine-dining establishments with a third slated to open in summer 2018. Can’t get to one of Vincenzo’s restaurants? No problem! Guzzo is selling his porhcetta (and his movie passes) direct to consumer through Costco locations.
In addition to cinema expansion, Vincenzo has also expanded his own family life as the proud and loving father of five children. He and his wife Maria are renowned philanthropists, giving generously to numerous hospitals culminating in the establishment of the Guzzo Family Foundation in 2007, which is aggressively invested in Cancer Nano research at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital and McGill University. Guzzo’s contributions have been internationally recognized as he is the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, was knighted by the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and is a distinguished member of the Order of Malta.
Having taken on the big guys and the movie industry by storm, Vincenzo cannot wait take on the Den where he promises Canada will hear a LOT more from him.
Photo by CBC
Photo by CBC
36 year-old Manjit Minhas is the co-founder and co-owner of Minhas Breweries, Distillery and Wineries. Though trained as a petroleum engineer, she has become a specialist in brand development, marketing, sales management and retail negotiations, having been recognized for several business industry awards such as PROFIT magazine's "Top Growth Entrepreneur", Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs in Canada, Canada's Top 40 under 40,
Chatelaine Magazine's "Top Entrepreneur Woman of The Year 2011", Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur of The Year Prairie Region and The Sikh Centennial Foundation Award 2015.
When Manjit Minhas was 19 years old, she and her brother Ravinder scraped together $10,000 to launch their first beer in Alberta.
In 2006, they purchased the second oldest brewery in the United States and renamed it "Minhas Craft Brewery." At the time, this acquisition officially made the Minhas siblings the youngest brewery owners in the world.
Their breweries are the 10th largest in the world, and as a company they produce more than 120 beers, spirits, liqueurs and wines that ship all across Canada and the U.S., as well as overseas to 16 different countries. Minhas Brewery makes all of the Kirkland brand beer for Costco worldwide, as well as all the craft beers under Trader Joes' label in the US. Today they run a group of companies that generated over $187-million in revenue last year.
Manjit lives in Calgary, where she was born and raised, with her husband and two young daughters.
Photo by CBC
Having conquered land, sea, sky and the world of virtual, Lane Merrifield is excited that his next new reality is to take on the Den and his fellow Dragons.
If you have kids, Lane may already be a household name, without even knowing it. He’s a creative genius and virtual game changer for youth, tweens and teens. Soon after creating Club Penguin, the world’s largest children’s social network, Disney came knocking with both a purchase offer and a job. At 28 years of age and just 18 months after launch, Lane sold his first company for a cool $350 million and accepted his next challenge as one of the youngest Executive Vice Presidents at the Walt Disney Company, where he grew Club Penguin to the billion dollar brand it is today.
Eager to return to entrepreneurial life, Lane moved home to Kelowna, BC in 2012. He launched FreshGrade, a learning assessment tool that connects teachers, parents and students to help both personalize and improve learning. It is currently being used in 80% of districts across Canada. One year later, he founded Wheelhouse, an organization that invests in and supports early-stage tech companies and entrepreneurs through mentorship, access to capital and connections to global business networks. One of their first projects was the creation of a $35 million, 100 thousand square foot state-of-the-art Innovation Centre in his hometown.
Lending his hand to up-starters, Lane also keeps his influence in the corporate world by sitting on the board of Spin Master, the University of British Columbia’s Board of Governors and was appointed to the BC Premier’s Technology Council.
For fun, Lane steps fully out of the virtual world, taking in all that the real world has to offer. He’s an avid motorcyclist, snowboarder, hiker, diver, wake surfer and pilot. In fact, while most business meetings happen over coffee, Lane’s happen over Okanagan Lake in his private twin-engine plane, flown by Lane himself.
Over the years, his teams have won dozens of awards including a prestigious BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television) Award for Club Penguin. Lane has received an Honorary Fellows Award, a Business Leader of the Year award from the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and he was also listed as one of The Hollywood Reporter's Top 35 Executives under 35.
Tech titan Michele Romanow is an engineer and a serial entrepreneur who started five companies before her 33rd birthday. Michele is the co-founder of Clearbanc, which gave entrepreneurs more than $100M in funding this year. She previously co-founded SnapSaves, which was acquired by American tech giant, Groupon in 2014. Michele was also the co-Founder of Buytopia.ca, which acquired ten competitors including Shop.ca and WagJag and was ranked #3 on the Profit Hot 50 list of fastest growing companies. She’s ranked in WXN’s “100 Most Powerful in Canada” and listed as the only Canadian on Forbes magazine’s “Millennial on a Mission” list.
Michele is a prolific angel investor and the winner of Angel Investor of the Year award. She co-founded the Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative with Richard Branson to encourage entrepreneurship.
Michele has created digital solutions for many of the world’s leading brands, including P&G, Netflix, Starbucks, and Cirque du Soleil. She began her career as the Director of Strategy for Sears, where she led apparel growth — a $2.5 billion category at the time.
In the media, Michele’s work has been profiled in Forbes, Canadian Business, The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, and Chatelaine.
During her Civil Engineering undergrad at Queen’s University, Michele founded The Tea Room, the first zero-consumer-waste coffee shop. At Queen’s, she was given the Queen’s Tricolour — the highest honor awarded by the university — and, after completing her Queen’s MBA, she founded Evandale Caviar, a vertically integrated commercial fishery.
Michele is a director for Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN), Freshii (TSX: FRII), League of Innovators, Queen’s School of Business and Shad International - a transformational program that develops the entrepreneurial potential of exceptional Canadian youth.
Michele is a Calgary native and currently splits her time between Toronto and San Francisco.
Photo by CBC
Photo by CBC
Jim Treliving has been a successful Canadian entrepreneur and investor for over 40 years.
Hailing from the small town of Virden, Manitoba, Jim was a young RCMP officer in 1966 when he walked into "Boston Pizza and Spaghetti House" in Edmonton and saw big dough in his future. Over 350 restaurant openings later, Jim is now the chairman and owner of Boston Pizza International Inc., Canada's number one casual dining brand with operations in three countries and almost $1 billion in annual system-wide sales. With Jim and his partner George Melville at the helm, Boston Pizza has been consistently recognized as one of Canada's "50 Best Managed Private Companies" and more recently as one of Canada's "Top Ten Most Admired Corporate Cultures".
Beyond the restaurant business, Jim has made investments in many other successful business ventures including real estate development, sports entertainment and the Canadian oil change retailer, Mr. Lube. Jim always invests in people first and strongly believes that "behind every great business is a great team". He is well known for his dynamic business vision, can-do attitude and drive for success.
Jim serves as chairman of both Global Entertainment Corporation and the Boston Pizza Foundation, which has raised $10 million for various Canadian charities since 1990. He is also a director of the Hockey Canada Foundation, dedicated to increasing funding for minor league hockey in Canada.
In spite of his often hectic schedule of business, social and philanthropic commitments, Jim shows no interest in slowing down and is always on the lookout for that next great opportunity. When he does have some time to relax he enjoys a good round of golf and spending time with friends and family at one of his three residences in Dallas, Palm Springs or Vancouver, where his penthouse overlooks the city and North Shore mountains.
Host | Business Correspondent
Photo by CBC
Dianne Buckner thoroughly enjoys hosting Dragons' Den.
"I don't know what's more fun," she says, "Spending time with the Dragons--they're just as entertaining and impressive off the air--or meeting all the brave and creative entrepreneurs who come to pitch!"
Dianne Buckner brings a natural curiosity along with years of experience to her position with CBC News.
For 10 years, she hosted the popular current affairs program Venture, eventually becoming the show's executive producer, as well. From there, Buckner went on to co-create Fortune Hunters, a magazine show on CBC Newsworld that focused on entrepreneurship. And since 2006, she has hosted CBC's popular reality show Dragons' Den.
Prior to her time with CBC, Buckner spent five years at CTV, where she co-hosted the consumer affairs program Live It Up!, and was backup host for Canada AM.
Buckner's work has taken her to Australia, the Netherlands, Japan and Iceland; she's interviewed prime ministers, as well as celebrity CEOs, such as Jack Welch and super-investor Warren Buffett.
Buckner has also worked in print journalism, writing book reviews for The Globe and Mail, and a weekly column for the Metro chain of newspapers.
DRAGONS' DEN is on CBC Television and CBC Gem