Sunday, June 16, 2024

This Year’s Dragons’ Den Meaford Winner the ‘Next Big Cheese’

Marie-Catherine Marsot’s received a $10,865 boost to her plans to develop a plant-based cheese business in Meaford that she is confident will employ in time more than 10 people. Marsot appealed to a panel of five judges to help her become the “Next Big Cheese” during the Meaford Chamber of Commerce 9th Annual Dragon’s Den on October 25 at the Meaford Hall Arts and Cultural Centre. She won them over with a strong business plan and samples of her dairy-free cheeses.

Marsot is a chef instructor at Liaison College in Barrie who is ready to devote herself 100% to Georgian Bay Fauxmagerie, producing dairy-free cheeses using an age-old fermentation process. Rather than the traditional cow, goat and sheep milk, she will use nuts and vegetables to satisfy a niche market demand for plant-based products. She has tested her product with 200 people, has retail stores asking for her faux cheeses, and is ready to apply for a patent.

She is confident that she has the right connections through her career as a chef instructor and advisor to build a market.

Judges Ross Kentner, Cindy Gretton, Darryl Hindle, Alex Hector, and Rick Lorenz opened the evening with a glimpse of some of the characteristics they would be looking for in a winner: problem-solving abilities, expertise, work ethic, strong business plan, self-confidence, patience, resourcefulness, and a willing to do what it takes to succeed.

Eight contestants representing five businesses in the Municipality of Meaford pitched their business ideas to the judges. Second-place winner Mark Skinner of Windswept Cider won $3,190 which he will invest in a cider press for his farm-to-bottle cider business. Andrea Greyerbiehl, Bryn Honeywood, and Rheanna Kish of Mojo Meal Kits received $250. Ride on Bikes owner Paul Bishop was not able to convince the judges that he is ready to expand his retail bike and ski business with e-Bikes and bike tours. Owners of the Meaford Artisan Hub, Brad and Nadia Mear, were not able to convince the judges to grant them $2,000 to assist them in applying for not-for-profit status.

The Dragon’s Den audience was invited to vote for its favourite contestant. The Audience Choice Award worth $760 went to Marsot’s Georgian Bay Fauxmagerie.

Photo: Entrepreneur Marie-Catherine Marsot placed first during the Meaford Chamber of Commerce 9th Annual Dragon’s Den at Meaford Hall Arts and Cultural Centre on October 25. Marsot won $10,865 to help her develop Georgian Bay Fauxmagerie, producing plant-based cheeses using an age-old fermentation process. Above, l-r: Marie-Catherine Marsot and ‘dragon’ Cindy Gretton.

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