They didn’t breathe a lot of fire. Instead, the Meaford Dragons breathed inspiration, insight and significant investment on the brave businesspeople facing them last night at Meaford Hall.

A full house enjoyed an entertaining evening as five spirited entrepreneurs took to the stage to make their pitches to a panel of business experts in a bid for their share of $32,000 in cash and prizes at Dragons’ Den Meaford.

Alistair McCall faces the Meaford Dragons

First up was Alistair McCall, founder of AM Wood Skateboard Company, whose unique environmentally-friendly (hemp and basalt fiber instead of fiberglass and carbon fiber), high-performance and awesomely designed longboards are quickly finding a market in countries around the world. He pitched the Meaford Dragons on his need to ramp up production capability to meet the demand he knows is out there among indie skateboard designers for quality manufacturing – and his need for business-to-business marketing to reach those companies.

Stepping into the Den next was Renée Renken, who has launched R&R Catering to provide fine dining menus for people entertaining at home. She saw an opportunity to grow her niche business with equipment and marketing.

Bill Monahan, who already runs a successful home electronics retail and installation business, has identified a need for HomeButtons Special Care – electronic home aids and devices to allow an aging population to “age in place” more easily. He needed funds for a business consultant to help him develop a growth strategy and plan.

Jenn Croft, of Creative Choices, took to the stage next to pitch the Meaford Dragons on the opportunity to grow her unique prepared and packaged food business directed at people with special dietary needs. Equipment, marketing and additional staff topped her wish list.

Finally, Dr. Angela Martin-King (and Peanut) stepped in front of the Dragons to showcase Kingstone Animal Care, her groundbreaking animal chiropractic, physiotherapy and rehabilitation care practice – and explain how physical therapy and rehab equipment would help her grow the business. (Peanut’s a pup, one of Angela’s successful patients.)

As the Meaford Dragons retired to their lair to gnaw over the pitches, audience members enjoyed refreshments (including those from the two food business contestants), and pondered their own choices for the Audience Choice…

And the Meaford Dragons’ Den winners are…

Dragons' Den Meaford winner Jenn CroftJenn Croft’s Creative Choices emerged as the evening’s big winner in the eyes of both the Dragons and the audience. She came away with at total of $20,045 in cash and prizes, including $5,780 in cash from the Dragons and the Audience Choice Award.

MyFavoriteMarketer is looking forward to helping Jenn’s venture grow with our $1,000 Audience Choice award for website design and marketing services.

In second place, a very happy Alistair McCall took home $6,745 in prizes, including $3,000 in cash.

Meet the Meaford Dragons

Donna Shortt, representing the Rotary Club of Meaford, is a wealth advisor with long experience in banking, who also devotes her time to many community groups, including the Agricultural Society, Meaford Hall Foundation and the local Humane Society.

Clifton Foo is the CEO of A2A Capital Management, with offices in Toronto, Dallas and Asia Pacific. He has extensive experience with multi-national corporations and, with A2A, is behind a major proposed residential resort community within Meaford – Meaford Highlands Resort.

Jan Singbeil co-owns EcoInhabit and The Market Meaford. Before moving to Meaford more than 20 years ago, Jan was a founding partner and VP at Atlantis Communications and Senior VP Programming for HGTV Canada and Life Network. She has been Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity Grey Bruce and has worked as a team-building facilitator for business and manufacturing.

Chris Rudge, Executive Chairman and CEO of the Toronto Argonauts; Chairman of the 100th Grey Cup Festival; Chairman of the Canadian Sport Centre, Ontario; and former Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee – also serves as Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University and sits as Executive in Residence at the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management Director Education and Certification Program.

Samantha McInnis Owner/operator of Evolve Toy Store, Samantha is committed to business and green development in her hometown. She has been involved with a number of Meaford initiatives and organizations, including the Business Improvement Area, the Meaford Farmers Market, and Transitions Meaford.

Wayne McFarlane hosted his fourth and final Dragons’ Den Meaford this year. Wayne has 35 years experience in Chartered Accountancy and Human Capital management. As Ryerson University’s first Executive in Residence, he helps MBA students with career development. As entertaining as he is experienced in business, Wayne leaves some big shoes to fill next year.