Enter the Dragon’s Den

Entrepreneur Robert Herjavec will guest lecture on Nov. 10

Jeff Dixon and Yolande Chan of the Queen’s Monieson Centre.
Jeff Dixon and Yolande Chan of the Queen’s Monieson Centre.
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Star of CBC’s Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank Robert Herjavec is coming to Queen’s on Wednesday to speak to students about his personal experiences in business.

“Everyone knows Queen’s is the best business school—a friend asked me and a favor granted is always repaid,” Robert Herjavec told the Journal via email.

He also said he plans to bring his son on his visit, because he’s thinking of attending Queen’s. In his lecture, Herjavec said he’s going to talk about business and sales.

“The nature of the world is competition for relatively finite resources. The sooner you can experience ‘real world’ competition the harder and stronger you will be later on,” he said.

Herjavec said students should try to get as many real world experiences as they can.

“Even though I have an English degree I use the basics of my first year accounting course every day,” he said.

Jeff Dixon, assistant director of The Monieson Centre, said the lecture is a great opportunity for students to learn from a successful entrepreneur.

“[Herjavec] started off as a waiter, and now he has gone to build and sell several companies. I think he’s going to talk about his life from a very personal experience,” he said. “I think he will challenge students to think ‘how can I make my own job.’ ”

“Brett, one of the other Dragons, [has] spoken at Ottawa where it’s been 10,000 people and over $100 a ticket, so it’s exciting that [Robert’s] going be here, just in the atrium and it’s a free event.”

The hour-long lecture will be held in Goodes Hall atrium at 5:30 p.m. It’s hosted by The Monieson Centre at the Queen’s School of Business (QSB) in partnership with its client Prince Edward Lennox and Addington Community Futures Development Corporations (PELA-CFDC). The lecture is meant to promote the Business Plan Competition slated for March 2011.

Dixon said the business competition offers the winning three teams $150,000 five-year interest-free loan to turn their business proposal into reality.

This type of entrepreneurship is all the more important, he said, since the economic climate is making if difficult for graduates to find jobs.

“There are big prizes on the table for this competition and an incredible kind of opportunity that doesn’t really come out too often if you are starting your own business,” Dixon said.

Yolande Chan, director of The Monieson Centre, said the Herjavec lecture will promote student innovation necessary to compete in the business competition.

“This guy, he’s a jet setter and we’re thrilled that he is landing his plane here in Kingston,” she said, adding that she hopes Herjavec will inspire students to compete in the competition.

The competition is open to all students of all faculties, and while it isn’t limited to just students, each team must have at least one student.

Students form groups made of however many people they want, then create a business plan and a 30-50 second video pitch describing their business ideas. Submissions are due to qsbpela.ca by Feb 4.

The ideas for business could range from any topics of science, to technology to the arts. The only restriction for the competition is that the business has to be in either Prince Edward County or Lennox and Addington County. The City of Kingston is not located in either of these counties.

“We are trying to promote innovation and not only business students have good ideas … we want to look for the best ideas on campus, wherever they are located,” she said, adding that they expect great ideas from the business students and did not want limit the competition to only them.

From the entries, six teams will be chosen to participate in the March competition, where they’ll present their ideas to the judges.

The money for the prizes comes from Canada’s Economic Action Plan, specifically the Community Adjustment Fund.

Project Manager at the Queen’s Centre for Business Venturing Ramzi Asfour said he’ll be at Herjavec’s talk to have one-on-one conversations with students thinking about entering the competition. “It starts with a good idea and finding a team as well. So suppose a student has an idea, they can partner with a friend in commerce and go from there,” he said.

“I [also] suggest meeting with … non-academic help such as KEDCO [Kingston Economic Development Corporation] and PELA CFDC,” he said.

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