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U of G students set to step into the Dragons' Den

Canadian BBQ Boys will be looking for cash for their BBQ cleaning and fixing business
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University of Guelph students Matt McCoy and Mike Sutton appear on Dragons' Den in a show that airs on Thursday, Jan. 10. Submitted photo

A lifelong friendship and a good idea have landed a pair of University of Guelph students in the Dragons' Den.

Matt McCoy and Mike Sutton, fourth-year commerce students at the U of G, will be making a pitch for their business Canadian BBQ Boys on Thursday's episode of the popular CBC television show.

They will be looking for investors for their business BBQ Boys, a barbecue cleaning and repair company that they started three years ago as a summer project.

They are seeking $50,000 in return for 10 per cent of their company.

"We finished our exams on the Friday then went out and did door-to-door sales on the Sunday and we got four sales our first day," McCoy said.

"We just kind of discussed getting a business started, then we came across this idea," said McCoy. "The idea came from a friend's parents, who had hired a barbecue service and didn't get great service.

"We put together a business plan, then in that first summer three years ago we just started knocking on doors in our neighbourhoods back home," McCoy said. "It just took off from there.

"We did a lot of self-teaching, just getting an understanding of how barbecues work and how we were going to provide the service, then we bought some business cards and some flyers and started knocking on doors."

The two went to high school together in Oakville, came to the U of G to study business and also live together during school, where they are still full-time students.

BBQ Boys comes to your home, cleans your barbecue and checks for parts that need replacing, for a a fee of between $150 to $250.

That first summer they earned $30,000, occasionally bringing in friends to help out when things got busy.

Prior to the second summer the pair went through the U of G's business hub incubator program and they expanded to eight employees, expanding across the Greater Toronto Area.

In its third summer the business expanded across the province, with 15 territory managers in place from Niagara to Ottawa, with the company earning $300,000 in servicing around 1,500 barbecues., McCoy said.

Dragons' Den producers actually reached out to the BBQ Boys to audition for the show. The first time they asked the partners felt they weren't quite ready yet. The second time they called they were ready to make their pitch.

The episode was filmed last April, so they have had to keep the secret of how they fared under wraps until Thursday, when they will be hosting a viewing party at campus pub Brass Taps.

"The experience itself was absolutely phenomenal for us. It was something completely new and a great learning experience," McCoy said. "Overall just being there and meeting the dragons was a life-changing experience for sure."

In the future McCoy said they are building out an online store for products and accessories, then expanding the service further afield as well as adding new services to what they offer.

"We see this as a good foundation point for us and we'll see what we can do in the future. We definitely want to grow and turn this company into what we think it can be," he said.

Thursday's show airs at 8 p.m.