Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dragons' Den & Our Unofficial National Financial Literacy Grade

Ever since I started pouring my writing and storytelling skills into the world of financial literacy I have been wondering how I might find out how financially literate we are as a country. I haven't found an official statistic on this yet, but I may have an unofficial one.

I had the opportunity last week to chat by email with Sean Wise, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Ryerson's School of Management and industry consultant to Dragons' Den. I couldn't resist asking Professor Wise what grade he would give Dragons' Den pitchers when it comes to their ability to talk money.

Professor Wise said, "I would give a C to most going into the Den, while they often know basic financial matters, that isn't enough when it comes to investment." 

His comment inspired me to do a little research so as I watched last night's episode I made a list of all the financial and/or business vocabulary used in the Den. I noted who used that vocabulary and what the outcome was for the pitcher. And then, just for fun, I gave each of the pitchers a financial literacy letter grade.

Elite Living International
Ask: $100,000 for 10% of their business
Number of financial/business words used by pitchers: 7
Number of financial/business words used by Dragons: 11
Outcome: No deal
Financial Literacy grade: C+

Innovative Solutions Handy Tray
Ask: $100,000 for 1.5% royalty on tray sales
Pitcher: 17 words
Dragons: 17 words
Outcome: $100,000 deal with Brett for 50% of his business
Financial Literacy grade: A+

AgriConnect Farm-sitting Web Site
Ask: $72,000 for 40% of their business
Pitchers: 8 words
Dragons: 12 words
Outcome: No deal
Financial Literacy grade: C

Professional Weight Loss Services
Ask: $250,000 for 25% of their business
Pitchers: 3 words
Dragons: 9 words
Outcome: No deal
Financial Literacy grade: F

Beba Bean Designs Baby Clothes
$315,000 for 15% of their business
Pitchers: 10 words
Dragons: 11 words
Outcome: $315,000 deal with Arlene and Robert for 40% of their business
Financial Literacy grade: A

What this says about us...
My sofa-side research pretty much confirms Professor Wise's C grade for the pitchers. So what does this mean for my quest to find out our national literacy score?

Think about the fact that Dragons' Den is one of the most-watched TV shows in the country. According to the show's marketing fact sheet: Dragons' Den is the number one reality show in Canada; the show's website had over three million hits in 2009; and it's the most popular show in its time slot. Match these stats with the fact that as of this moment the show's Facebook page has 35,455 fans. These are big numbers in our small country. Do you see where I'm going with this?
Canada's "Unofficial" Financial Literacy grade: C

You can find out more about these pitchers and watch the show by visiting the Dragons' Den CBC website.

Copyright 2010. Laura Thomas. All Rights Reserved.
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  1. So when are you and my lovely little neice going to be on the dragons den?

  2. Probably never but as they say: never say never.