This article by Christine Wood originally appeared in the Coast Reporter
They’re known for making the fastest deal ever in the Dragons’ Den and their business is now worth millions, but Brian and Corin Mullins, makers of Holy Crap cereal, hope their social responsibility will earn them a different Dragons’ Den award this fall. CBC’s Dragons’ Den and Ford have teamed up to create an on-line competition to kick off the new season.
The contest, titled the Top 10 Game Changers, will feature short on-line videos of the Mullins and nine other Dragons’ Den favourites talking about ways their companies have created more than just financial gain.
The Dragons will pick their favourite and award them a new 2013 Ford Fusion. Viewers can get in on the contest by guessing who the Dragons will pick. If they guess correctly they will be entered into a draw to win a two-year lease on a 2013 Ford Fusion.
CBC film crews were on the Coast July 31 to get footage of the Mullins for the contest and find out what positive changes their business has created. “We’re looking at companies that are going beyond the boundaries of business. It’s not just making money, there’s some sort of positive change coming out of these companies,” said Bryan Ward who works in marketing with CBC. “Dragons’ Den is all about the business and how much money can be made, so what we’re trying to do with this contest is look at another side of it.”
The Mullins’ video will talk about their determination to stay on the Coast, their growing employee base and a new co-op just started in Mexico, among other things.
“We’ve now got 20 farmers in a co-op in Mexico to grow chia for us, so now we’ve got 16 employees here and 20 families down there,” Brian said.
He said as the company has grown, there has been a lot of pressure to move off Coast. “It can happen, so we resisted selling out, we resisted mechanizing, we resisted getting Japanese workers to make it at a race to the bottom. That’s not something we want to do with a high-end product like this that has to be the same,” Brian said, adding that “happy workers make a happy product.” In addition to creating well-paying jobs on the Coast, the Mullins make sure to give some of their profits to local groups in need each year.
“We did $45,000 in charity work here last year, to the food bank and other related things,” Brian noted.
But perhaps the biggest socially responsible thing the Mullins have done is pledge to feed the entire Coast should a disaster occur and food is scarce.
“There’s always $300,000 worth of inventory, which would feed Coast families for a week,” Brian said.
Whether the Mullins have done enough to win the Top Game Changer award is yet to be seen. The public can view all the contest videos starting Aug. 20 at www.cbc.ca/dragonsden. Viewers can then pick who they think the Dragons will choose between Sept. 10 and 18. The new Dragons’ Den season starts Sept. 19 and the on-line videos will be shown during weekly episodes. The Dragons will announce the winner later in the season once all the videos have aired.