Beaver’s Den – like Dragons’ Den, but nicer

On Saturday, March 26th the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Engineering hosted their inaugural Beaver’s Den – think Dragons’ Den but with a faculty mascot twist.

Seven brave engineering students made their pitches to a panel of potential investors and by the end of the day the “Beavers” had invested approximately $200K and promised some great mentorship.

Like CBC’s popular Dragons’ Den show the Beaver’s Den saw students pitch to a panel of investors ready to invest and mentor.

The event was the culmination of an entrepreneur-in-residence program started in September by engineering alumnus Michael Sikorsky.

Sikorsky recruited four investors to come out to hear the pitches: Brian Prokop, an investor in dozens of companies from traditional oil and gas to IT to food and drink; Dave Howard, an angel investor who is also heavily involved in the Canadian Legacy Project that aims to improve the lives of our disadvantaged youth, seniors and veterans; Dr. Leslie Roberts, an entrepreneur and the president and founder of the GoForth Institute; and David Richard, a 32-year veteran of the oil and gas industry.

Ryan Heise has written up a great summary of the Beaver’s Den event on the UofA website which includes feedback from the students as well as host Sikorsky. 

“It’s super hard getting up there and talking to these guys, asking them for money. They should all be proud for getting through this first one,” Sikorsky said. “I did very little coaching with the students this year and look at this, we got some real deals done. I was worried that maybe no one would want to invest, but the students gave them reason to. It was great.”

Look out for the Beaver’s Den to become an annual event.