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JUDGES & HOST

Joe Mimran

Joe Mimran is a retail, fashion and business pioneer who has helped build some of Canada’s most recognized apparel and lifestyle brands Joe Fresh, Club Monaco, Pink Tartan, Alfred Sung and Caban.

 

He is also Chairman of Gibraltar & Co, a venture capital firm, is on the board of Canopy Rivers and LXR, and through his consulting firms, JM+A and NYBS, provides design and consulting services to major retailers in the U.S. such as Kroger and Staples.

 

From 2015 to 2018 Joe also starred as a Dragon on CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den.

 

Mimran was the honorary Chairman of the inaugural Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards, and the recipient of the Canadian Style Award. He has also been recognized with The Design Exchange award along with his wife, Kimberley Newport-Mimran, the co-founder of Pink Tartan.

 

He has recently been inducted into Canada's Marketing Legends Hall of Fame. He's been featured in publications including the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The Globe and Mail.

 

A patron of the arts, Mimran’s philanthropic activities include support of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Mimran is also a Luminaire for Luminato Arts Festival. He also supports Reena, a non-profit organization which promotes independence and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities.

 

Joe Mimran
Vincenzo Guzzo

Vincenzo Guzzo

Vincenzo Guzzo is a sassy entertainment mogul who has disrupted the movie landscape by living and breathing the Canadian Dream. As the only son of Italian immigrants, Guzzo believed he could turn his dad’s small theatre business (along with his own law and business degrees) into the mega-scaled empire it is today. He just needed to take on “the big guys.”

 

In 1998, Guzzo did just that when he sued the biggest movie competitor in Canada to gain equal opportunity for “the little guy” to show first-run releases — and won! Twenty years later, Guzzo is the president and CEO of Cinemas Guzzo, the number one operator in Quebec and the third largest movie exhibitor in Canada. His chain has a total of 141 screens: nine IMAX cinemas and 10 locations with three more set to open later this year. Size does matter to Cinemas Guzzo.

 

Not one to let opportunity pass him by, Guzzo had another vision while building his multiplexes. All Cinemas Guzzo locations were built by another Guzzo holding, turning Le Groupe Guzzo Construction Inc. into one of the most successful general contracting outlets in Quebec.

Guzzo has now expanded operations once again and has become a restaurateur. He opened a chain of trendy Italian pork sandwich locations called Porchetta, as well as two successful fine-dining establishments with a third slated to open in summer 2018. Can’t get to one of his restaurants? No problem. Guzzo is selling his porchetta (and his movie passes) direct to consumers through Costco.

 

Guzzo is the loving father of five children. He and his wife, Maria, are renowned philanthropists, giving generously to numerous hospitals and culminating in the establishment of the Guzzo Family Foundation in 2007, which is aggressively invested in cancer nanotechnology research at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital and McGill University. Guzzo’s contributions have been internationally recognized. He is the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and is a distinguished member of the Order of Malta.

 

Michele Romanow

Michele Romanow is an engineer and a serial entrepreneur who started five companies before her 33rd birthday. The youngest ever entrepreneur to join CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den, Michele is the co-founder of e-commerce platforms Buytopia.ca and SnapSaves (acquired by Groupon). Ranked in WXN’s “100 Most Powerful in Canada,” Michele is the only Canadian on Forbes’ “Millennial on a Mission” list. Her current venture Clearbanc is offering financial services for entrepreneurs.

 

Buytopia ranked #3 on the Profit Hot 50 list of fastest growing companies and #1 on Chatelaine's W100 list of fastest growing companies. It won the Canadian Innovation Awards - Angel Investor of the Year and was a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award and the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards. Michele was previously the Director of Strategy for Sears.

 

Michele received her engineering degree and MBA from Queen's University where she received the Queen's Tricolour. She is a director on the board of Vail Resorts, Shad Valley, Freshii and League of Innovators.

 

Michele Romanow
Michael Wekerle

Michael Wekerle

Michael Wekerle is a veteran of capital markets. He began on the floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange to become one of Canada’s best-known institutional traders. He co-founded Griffiths McBurney and Partners, where he served as vice chariman and helped build it into one of Canada’s leading independent financial services companies. Throughout his career, Michael has been at the forefront of some of Canada’s largest financing deals, including a private placement and eventual IPO for Research in Motion (now BlackBerry), the merger between Goldcorp and Wheaton River, and Royal Dutch Shell’s takeover of BlackRock Ventures.

 

In 2012, Michael co-founded Difference Capital Financial, a merchant bank investing in mid-stage technology and media companies. He also owns an impressive portfolio of high-tech commercial properties in Waterloo, Ontario, collectively known as the Waterloo Innovation Network. In 2015, he bought the legendary El Mocambo, a historic music venue that is now being transformed into a state-of-the-art entertainment facility.

 

Michael lives in Toronto and is a doting father to six children. He donates millions of dollars to a wide variety of philanthropic interests. He joined the cast of CBC’s Dragons’ Den in 2014, and is a popular commentator and public speaker, often sharing valuable insights on stock market trends, entrepreneurialism and the growth of the tech industry.

 

Our Host, Maureen Holloway

Maureen Holloway is a fan favourite on the Toronto radio scene. After long-time stints at CKFM/Mix 99.9, then Q107, she is now one half of Darren and Mo, the top rated morning show heard every day on landmark station 98.1 CHFI. Maureen is also familiar to listeners across the country as host of the popular entertainment feature The Last Word, now rebranded as Other’s People’s Business.

 

Throughout her career on radio and television, Mo has received many honours, including the 2009 HOPE Award and the Canadian Association of Broadcaster’s Gold Ribbon Award for Humour. Most recently, she was given the 2018 Rosalie Award, honouring Canadian women in broadcasting who have blazed new trails. Diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer in 2005, Maureen is an outspoken advocate for women’s health and social issues, and is in frequent demand as a lecturer and keynote speaker, where her topics encompass women, humour and wellness. She is also cancer free.

 

Maureen lives in Toronto’s west end with her husband John, her sons Aidan and Ronan, and her dogs Asta and Dewey. She plays golf and piano, both rather badly, and loves to cook, travel, laugh and drink wine, sometimes all at once.

 

Maureen Holloway