PtboPics & Recap: The Bears' Lair Grand Finale In Peterborough

The Bears' Lair Finale competition at Showplace Tuesday brought in more than 400 spectators to see who would walk away with $20,000 in start-up products and services. Judges for the final competition included Karissa Ward, Partner at Wards LLP; Don Popple, President of Curry Motors in Haliburton; Bill Patchett, Owner of Mr. Grocer; Alec Morley, Senior Vice President, Small Business Banking at TD Canada Trust; and Diane M. Richard, Director of Manufacturing at Quaker Oats Canada.

Robert Herjavec - Photo: Evan HoltThe Keynote speaker and guest judge was Robert Herjavec, who is one of the "Dragons" on the hit CBC show Dragons' Den. Robert has lived one of the "Rags to Riches" stories, leaving Croatia when he was eight with his family, arriving in Canada with only $20 to their name and then working his way through life creating The Herjavec Group and being listed on Profit Magazine's 100 Fastest Growing Companies list three years in a row. Robert gave a passionate speech about how he got to where he is and gave suggestions to the contestants, such as making sure you are exclusive in your market, having a reason to do what you do, and that the biggest lies are the ones you tell yourself. "If a bank turns you down five times, there is a reason why," says Robert.

With forty years in the die cast manufacturing, Len and Anne Sedgwick said that they were ready to get their business running. Already featured in the Toronto Star and winners of the Peterborough Bears' Lair, their business makes the InnoFast, a super-duper picture hanger. Using a regular screwdriver, you screw in a self-tapping screw that will hold up to 30 pounds. If they won, the money would go towards increasing production and expansion into the U.S. The product is already in Home Hardware and Home Depot, and they have the U.S. patents (Canadian patent pending). The plan for the future would be to expand into the States and into stores such as Lowes. "It's a passion," says Anne.

Len Sedgwick from InnoFast - Photo: Evan Holt

Jo Ann Baguioro-Thompson of Tiburon Treats - Photo: Evan Holt

The second pitch was from Jo Ann Baguioro-Thompson of Tiburon Treats Inc., who was the Northumberland Finalist. She started her own business in her kitchen making premium canine biscuits. With ten years of marketing background, she launched various lines of biscuits in 2008 that are wheat, grain, gluten free and low in fat. She already has proven sales with more than 2,000 customers, over $120,000 in sales over two years and is in over 40 outlets. She currently has a 5,000 sq ft manufacturing plant. Jo Anne is looking to grow the business through marketing channels. The biscuits are $12.99 per half pound.

Brandi Hewson of WAI Products Inc. was the Haliburton finalist and she is a distributer of a select range of water supply and irrigation products. Since Brandi's grandfather and father both ran and owned plumbing service companies, she is well versed in the field. Brandi has the exclusive rights for North America for Hanflo. Brandi managed the North American market for Hansen New Zealand for the past five years and the prior two years in developmental product and market stages for the Hanflo line. The money would go to marketing for brand identity.

Brandi Hewson of WAI Products Inc. - Photo: Evan Holt

John Walsh of Enviroframe - Photo: Evan Holt

The final pitch was from John Walsh, the Kawartha Lakes Finalist for the company Enviroframe. John has always been interested in "green businesses" and said that he got started by selling rain barrels to the city of Kawartha Lakes. Envirofram is a picture frame made from recycled styrofoam. John believes that recyclable Polystyrene is a lucrative business. Polystyrene is perfect frame material. Fourteen million tones of polystyrene are created every year, but most end up in landfills. Only 1% is recycled and on the flip side, the home decor market is quite large.


The Bears went for deliberation after the pitches to go over the presentations and details of the business plans that were given to them ahead of time. Upon return, the Bears awarded Jo Ann Baguioro-Thompson as the winner! All of the other contestants were also given a "Golden Ticket" that will allow them to get to the front of the line at the next round of Dragon's Den auditions that are coming up shortly.

Jo Ann Baguioro-Thompson of Tiburon Treats - Photo: Evan Holt

[Related: Bears' Lair Peterborough]

[Written by PtboCanada's Evan Holt]

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