Casting a wider net brought in some great ideas to the latest edition of the Junior Dragons Den competition.
The winners were crowned Saturday at The Bailey in Trail among a cast of candidates from the West Kootenay-Boundary region as well as the Peace Liard region of northern eastern B.C.
“We had a total of 60-plus submissions,” said John Reed, Junior Initiatives Coordinator for Community Futures Greater Trail
The field for the event’s fifth edition was whittled down to three finalists in three categories – Junior (grades 7 to 10), Senior (grades 11-12) and Post Secondary – with cash prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500.
A panel of 10 judges watched the final presentations and, along with audience voting which accounted for 30 per cent of the final score – the winners were announced.
Leading the way in the Post Secondary Division was Cameron Olsen from Okanagan University College. Olsen’s company Wild Kootenay Honey featured a honey bee company out of Nakusp.
“We liked three things,” said Eric Lawson, Kootenay-Boundary group publisher for Black Press and one of the judges.
“He has already started the business on a small scale, while still a student. He has had grocery chains express interest for when he can produce the product on a larger scale.
”And the product has an environmental element – he is raising the bees in an area where no chemicals are used, so that the bees and the product are not influenced by pesticides – which we thought would have appeal to consumers in the Kootenays.”
This year’s Senior Category winner was Taking Back Neverland featuring Katelin Blunden and Keona Osbourne of Tumbler Ridge Secondary.
The Junior Category went to Selkirk Seaglass featuring Katherine Wall of St. Joseph School in Nelson.