Hanes Hummus maker wins Brett Wilson's pitch party in Saskatoon

Hummus maker Yohannes Petros, won a pitch party tonight in Saskatoon hosted by entrepreneur and business mentor Brett Wilson.

Former Dragon's Den cast member and billionaire hosted party.

Yohannes Petreos wins Brett Wilson's Pitch Party. (Kathy Fitzpatrick/CBC)

Hummus maker Yohannes Petros won a pitch party tonight in Saskatoon hosted by entrepreneur and business mentor Brett Wilson.

Petros's product is Hanes Hummus, a food product he started making in his kitchen in 2009.

"To have somebody as well-known and connected as (Wilson) is, any introductions towards some of the key decision-makers in the food industry would definitely be helpful," Petros said.

But Petros already caught the eye of textile giant Hanesbrands Incorporated in 2013. They sent him a cease and desist letter.

The company, known for making Hanes underwear, said the name of Petros's hummus was "identical and confusingly similar" to the Hanes trademark. But Petros has persevered and said he is close to working out a resolution with the company.

Petros said a major western retailer will start carrying his line of hummus in the next few weeks, something that he said was difficult to achieve since he doesn't heat pasteurize his hummus or add preservatives.

"The first question that retailers or distributors ask you is, 'What's the shelf life?'"

Petros said he resists the temptation to add preservatives, but has kept talking to grocery retailers "one store at a time" to convince them that consumers will buy his hummus.

Brett Wilson said Petros had the most memorable pitch.

Earlier on CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning, Wilson outlined what he looks for in a winning pitch.

"Prove to me that you really do understand how to market your product or your service, it'll go a long way with me."

The number one mistake that young entrepreneurs make, according to Wilson is underestimating just how much work and money it is going to take to break into a market with a new idea.  It is one area Wilson promises to probe at tonight's pitch party.

"Don't make up answers. It's always wiser to say I'm not sure but I will find out."


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