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The Den Report: Ontario’s Own

Every investor watching Dragons' Den stood up and cheered when Dianne Buckner reminded the viewers it is the Dragons' own cash going into the show's businesses they do deals with. It is easy to forget. As a test, take out a few of your own dollars and as people pitch, divvy up which company would get your hard-earned cash. Ontario's Own would probably have got your investment this episode, too. It was a fascinating deal. Investing is an art, not a science, as was illustrated by the fact Carole-Ann Hayes's scored a Dragon deal despite not yet having turned a profit with her locally-sourced food business.

A frisson of excitement made the usually calm Dragons lose their cool and they whispered, "Is that Jamie Kennedy?" Bringing the celebrity to the pitch showed Jamie's commitment, and the Dragons recognized Kennedy as the real deal: a superstar (in Toronto anyway). Lithe and handsome, hard working, health-conscious and a local celebrity, Jamie is a gold performer with a strong track record.

Taking a leaf out of Paul Newman's salad dressing, Jamie Kennedy-branded sauces immediately gets across the brand message - trust in this product to be local, delicious, good for you and good for the environment.

Kevin got up on his soapbox about the valuation of the business being "greedy". Kevin is right, but good for Carole-Ann and Hillary for taking the risk to go for a big "Ask". They made the lower offer seem reasonable in comparison - Negotiation 101.

Again, here is a business owner who has already sunk a large sum of money into her venture and went underwater trying to get established. If you ran the numbers, you could say there is, as Jim likes to put it, "not a snowball's chance in hell" it will fly. Aerodynamically, a bumble bee should also not be able to fly. This is where the power of the driven entrepreneur doing what she loves trumps financial caution.

Robert was one Dragon who did simply look at the facts. He couldn't see the value and bowed out gracefully. Jim would have been the best partner, even with 50% ownership, because of his deep food and distribution core competence. He may seem a daunting partner because he comes across as the strictest Dragon, but he knows how to grow money. For entrepreneurs, fear is good. Kevin gave Hillary the Full Monty, but she firmly stood her ground. He then offered a deal where he would get a percentage of every jar sold in perpetuity. After taking Kevin's blasting, but hearing his offer, Hillary told Kevin she respectfully declined his deal: that politeness is a wonderful demonstration of emotional maturity and of someone who does not burn her bridges. Well played, Madame, and Charlie Sheen should book an anger management course with you.

Arlene would bring in oodles of expertise to the business, but it was interesting that Bruce, the panel's new technology expert, has figured out his co-investment strategy. Doing the deal by himself would have been reckless, but with Arlene, now you're talking. It will be a good partnership for all.

Jacoline Loewen, MBA, is a Director of Loewen & Partners Inc., a corporate finance firm working with business owners and family businesses. Loewen & Partners has raised over $150 million for owner-managed Canadian companies, as well as managing family business succession, acquisition, and final sale. She is an advisor, lecturer and writer of business strategy and private equity. Her latest book "Money Magnet: How to Attract Investors to Your Business," published by Wiley, was selected by the Entrepreneurship course at The Richard Ivey School of Business. Jacoline began her career working for Granduc Mines in Northern British Columbia and went on to work with Deloitte in their strategy unit. She developed a strategic planning model and published it in a book called "The Power of Strategy" which went on to be a best seller. She also wrote "Business e-Volution" which helped teams understand the business opportunities created by the Internet. She writes for the National Post, Globe & Mail and hosted Financial Post Executive podcasts (available on iTunes). She organizes CEO Roundtables and other conferences in alliance with Ivey Business School, Rotman and leading law firms. Jacoline is a Director on the Board of the Exempt Market Dealers Association (EMDA), working with the Ontario Securities Commission to establish transparency in the private placement industry. She is on the advisory board of DCL International, Bilingo China, and Flint Business Acceleration. She was on the Board of Directors of the Strategic Leadership Forum where she ran the Knowledge Café series. Her other roles include serving as a judge for the U.B.C. and the Richard Ivey School of Business' Business Plan Competitions, mentoring for Canadian Youth Business Foundation as well as being a member of The Ticker Club.

Follow Jacoline on Twitter at @jacolineloewen