Lion's Lair 2013: Meet the Lions

The annual entrepreneurial competition run by the Innovation Factory begins Thursday. Read about this year's Lions at CBC Hamilton first.
Carmela Trombetta, Mark Chamberlain, Mike Morreale, Paul Lee-Chin and Blair McKeil are the 2013 Lions. (Supplied)

Hamilton — it's time for the return of the Lions.

Innovation Factory, the regional innovation centre, is kicking off their annual Lion's Lair entrepreneurship competition Thursday.

Lion's Lair, in similar style to CBC's Dragon's Den, selects 10 local businesses to go through a summer of intensive entrepreneurial training to improve their company. After making a pitch to a group of five successful Hamilton business leaders, up to three companies will be chosen winners at a gala in the fall.

Meet this year's Lions.

Mike Morreale

Morreale is returning as a Lion for the second year. The Hamilton native played 12 years in the CFL for both the Tiger-Cats and the Toronto Argonauts.

Morreale has three Grey Cups under his belt, as well as two CFL Most Outstanding Canadian awards.

Since retiring as a player, Morreale hasn't left the CFL. He became president of the CFL Players' Association in 2012. He's also worked as a broadcaster for TSN and The Score.

Carmela Trombetta

The lone lady Lion, Trombetta is vice-president for RBC's Greater Hamilton Commercial Financial Services. She's been with RBC for 23 years with various roles in retail, wealth management and commercial banking.

Born and raised in Hamilton, Trombetta has a degree in economics from McMaster University. She continues to be active in the community, serving on the cabinet for the United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton, the Board of Mission Services and the finance committee for St. Joseph's Healthcare.

Mark Chamberlain

Chamberlain is the president and founding member of Hamilton's Trivaris, a commercialization company. But, he is best known for his time as CEO of WesCam, a world leader in camera technology and visual systems.

Chamberlain is a Hamiltonian by choice - he is originally from Toronto and attended the University of Waterloo.

He is also heavily active in the community and was recently honoured with a Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee medal.

Paul Lee-Chin

Lee-Chin is an investment advisor with Manulife Securities Incorporated. He also founded the Mentorship Wealth Management team in 2007, mentoring clients while they achieve financial security and prosperity.

A graduate of McMaster University, Lee-Chin earned a degree in economics in 2007. He donates his time and resources to various community groups, including the Dundas Art Community and was appointed to the Hamilton Community Foundation's board of directors in 2001.

Blair McKeil

McKeil heads the Hamilton-based McKeil Marine, a company widely considered by industry analysts as a Canadian success story.

His family's company focuses on global and regional trends in trade and transportation. At just 33-years-old, McKeil took over the company from his father.

Mohawk College honoured McKeil Marine in 2011 by naming their business school in his family's name. McKeil was also presented with the inaugural Mohawk College Fellowship and received an honorary diploma in business administration.

CBC Hamilton's Julia Chapman will have full coverage of Lion's Lair 2013, including profiles of each of the 10 finalists, an inside look at their training and interviews with the Lions, right up to the gala on Oct. 10.