Zambezi

Sponsored Content with: BDC

​Human beings have a natural connection to water. Swimming gives people an otherworldly sense of freedom - except when it makes them feel panicky and in peril.

​For many, swimming is an intimidating activity. Buoyed by a love of being in the water, a trio of Vancouver-based brothers spent years developing what’s called the Zambezi Board.

​The only board in the world designed specifically for swimming, it lets users get right in the water rather than simply sitting or riding on top of it, all while feeling comfortable - physically and mentally.

​And although Justin, Matt and Gareth Schroenn are only in the very beginning stages of business, the brothers landed the chance to sink or swim on Dragons’ Den. In the end, they dove into a deal with Michael Wekerle.

Human beings have a natural connection to water. Swimming gives people an otherworldly sense of freedom - except when it makes them feel panicky and in peril.

For many, swimming is an intimidating activity. Buoyed by a love of being in the water, a trio of Vancouver-based brothers spent years developing what’s called the Zambezi Board.

The only board in the world designed specifically for swimming, it lets users get right in the water rather than simply sitting or riding on top of it, all while feeling comfortable - physically and mentally.

And although Justin, Matt and Gareth Schroenn are only in the very beginning stages of business, the brothers landed the chance to sink or swim on Dragons’ Den. In the end, they dove into a deal with Michael Wekerle.

“This was really a compelling pitch,” says Robert Duffy, Vice President, Growth & Transition Capital, BDC. When an entrepreneur is so passionate about their business, it’s contagious. Justin, Matt, and Gareth appear to have made a great product, created out of a need in an area they are experts in. They were able to plausibly explain this need to the Dragons, which is likely what gave Michael the confidence to invest in them.

“They get that every human interaction is a chance to make a positive impression and develop new contacts who could benefit them down the road,” Duffy adds.

Equipped with a non-slip neoprene chest plate, the Zambezi board is ergonomically designed to move and roll with the user, making people feel safe, stable, and confident in the water. Its compact size makes for easy transport (it fits in the back of most cars) and storage (it can slide right under a bed).

Although the entrepreneurs received only a single offer in the Den, almost all of the Dragons expressed interest in becoming potential investors once the company begins to demonstrate customer traction. “Not a bad outcome for a company that is pre-revenue,” Duffy notes.

“The reality is that when an entrepreneur sets out to raise money, he or she will be meeting with many potential capital providers, most of whom won’t make an investment,” he explains. “Some entrepreneurs take a negative approach and turn each ‘decline’ into a confrontation. Instead, the Schroenn brothers took all feedback - even the negative - with grace. As a result, they gained new customers, they added names to their network of contacts. and they received some useful perspective on risks they may not have seen otherwise.”

As exciting as it can be for people like the Schroenn to get their product to market and start growing their business, it’s essential that aspiring entrepreneurs take a measured, strategic approach in a venture’s nascent stage.

Start-up financing is quite literally just the start. From there, sales consulting can help business owners define their sales objectives, create a sustainable and measurable sales-process plan, and more, all with an eye to growth.

Less tangible factors can also help budding entrepreneurs reach the next level, as the Schroenn brothers discovered for themselves in the Den.

“The reality is, these guys are still early and will inevitably face many challenges building their business,” Duffy says. “But with their positive attitude and approach, I suspect they will find a lot of people willing to help them along the way.”

This is paid content provided by or produced on behalf of BDC.

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