I’ve been a fan of Dragon’s Den ever since I started business school almost four years (during DD’s third season). For the few people reading this that have not seen the show, I’ll explain the concept. In a nutshell, contestants with business ideas pitch them to a panel of wealthy and successful entrepreneurs for a chance at real funding (like Windsor’s Stilt Guys, who may appear on the show next season). It’s reality television that teaches you a few things about entrepreneurship. Launching Season 7 this September, the show has had only two mainstays for all seven seasons: Kevin O’Leary (his company was acquired by Mattel) and Jim Treliving.
What makes this story so topical is that Jim Treliving was just recently in Windsor filming another CBC show: The Big Decision. The show which debuted in March 2012 and focuses on turnarounds of Canadian businesses, is profiling a local automation company Radix Controls. On July 23rd, the company held a large press event to showcase their new vision based camera system, Tool Tracker in Toronto. Details are available here.
From what I have read and seen, Jim Treliving has always struck me as a humble and personable man with a great love for people. Don’t be fooled though, Jim’s success is derived from a ton of sweat equity. From humble beginnings as an RCMP Mountie, Jim opened up his first Boston Pizza location in 1968. Years later, he and accountant George Melville had opened 16 franchises when they decided to buy the entire company. A 2010 article by the Toronto Star, however, reveals that Jim didn’t actually become liquid until the company IPO’d in 2002. It is only now, in his 60s that he has been able to enjoy the fruits of his life’s work. Here is an excerpt from Dragon’s Den Season 4 profiling his road to riches.
As you watch Jim, you will no doubt see a down-to-earth man that isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He also is highly philanthropic: a perfect example of this being his recent charitable giving to local Windsor man’s Dragon Boats team during a taping at the Dairy Freez in Cottam. If you didn’t get to to see Jim, don’t fret – his time in Windsor hasn’t come to an end yet. He was at the Belle River Sunsplash Festival Friday and will be back in town with the Big Decision crew later to film another local business: Sauve’s Building Centre in Belle River. I’ll cross my fingers that Jim comes to visit the Business Accelerator while he is in town. A boy can dream, right?
Jim recently sat down with The Hour host George Stroumboulopoulos to talk about his life among other topics (like the Phoenix Coyotes where his son is Assistant GM):