The Dragons’ Den audition cheat sheet

The producers of CBC’s Dragons’ Den are on a nationwide audition tour to find the next big business in Canada. If you’re seeking capital for an established enterprise or even an interesting idea, the Dragons could help launch your business to the next level.

There are two ways to apply to the show:

  1. Online
  2. Open auditions

Here’s a list of hot tips for a successful audition:

What producers are looking for:

  • The opportunity: Identify the opportunity for the investor. What’s your competitive edge? Why is this the next great deal, and why are you the entrepreneur to invest in?
  • The story: It’s the human connection in a world of financials that producers are looking for. There’s always a story behind your motivation, a story behind the lightbulb moment. Something that people can relate to and make them want to find out more.
  • The passion: Don’t come to an audition and press play on a video and hope that it speaks for you. Producers are looking for the most passionate, energetic presenters, and people who could spend hours discussing every detail of their fascinating business.
  • The money: Dragons are looking to invest in legitimate opportunities. The Dragons want to put their dollars to work, they don’t want to do the work for you. Producers need to know what this deal will do for YOU. Why do YOU need the investment? Be sure to highlight exactly why you need an investment and what you plan to do with the money.
  • The TV show: Put your best foot forward. This is television, not PowerPoint! Talking about stats and forecasts can get a little dull. Ask yourself: what’s going to make millions of new customers stay glued to their TVs to find out about YOUR product or business? How will your pitch stand out? Think of some entertaining elements that could help your pitch stand out at auditions and in the Den.

What to check prior to auditions:

  • Location, date, and time: Things can change! Make sure you check our website the morning of your audition for the most up-to-date location information.
  • Equipment needs: We encourage you to bring any equipment you need to auditions, including extension cords, laptops, stereos, etc. Producers will not be able to connect any hardware or software to their own electronics. We invite you to email dragons@cbc.ca if you have any questions or concerns regarding the location or equipment needs.
  • Online application: Even if you’re showing up in person, the producers highly recommend you apply online first.
  • Consent and release form: Check it out when applying online. You are required to sign at both the auditions and again if you are selected to pitch to the Dragons.
  • Weather/conditions:  Producers are travelling in the heart of the Canadian winter, and understand weather conditions can impact attendance. If there are any concerns on the day of your local audition, producers recommend applying online only. Please note: producers will follow up with a video conference for selected applicants only.

What to bring to auditions:

  • Printed application: If possible, before you submit your online application, print your completed application form and bring it with you to auditions to avoid having to redo paperwork. 
  • Products/essentials for audition: Bring your product! Producers want to see it all. It’s your one shot to get to pitch to the Dragons, don’t leave anything at home.
  • Snacks and entertainment: Producers encourage all applicants and helpers to bring snacks and things to keep themselves busy. The wait in larger cities can be upwards of several hours.

What to do when you arrive:

  • Register: This is different than filling out an application. Applicants must sign up at the registration table in order to be assigned an audition order number.
  • Discuss props/extras with volunteers: If you have a bit of an unusual set up, ask any questions you may have with the Dragons’ Den volunteers. They’re trained to assist you and can work out logistics with producers while you wait your turn, ensuring the day continues to operate smoothly for everyone involved.

Flow of audition:

  • Pitch like it’s the real deal: You’ve seen the show, you know what they say. The producers want to know you can stick to a format. “Hello Dragons/producers, my name is Jane, I’m from Toronto Ontario, and I’m here seeking $100,000 for 20% of my business, Jane's Book Store.”
  • Elevator pitch: The next thing producers want to know is “what are you pitching?” Make it clear and concise. If you can’t explain EXACTLY what your business does in approximately one minute, it’s too complicated for television.
  • Demonstrate product or service: This is where some entertainment comes in. You’ve just told us, now show us what your business or product does!
  • Q&A with producers: You don’t need to tell producers your sales in the elevator pitch, they’ll ask! Just like on the show, once you’ve explained what the business does, producers are going to turn into Dragons and start asking all the interesting details our Dragon panel might want to know. However, if you feel producers have missed something that could be important, shout it out!

That’s pretty much it, the rest is up to you! Good luck and see you at auditions!