Student entrepreneurs score backing from Dragons’ Den investor

If you only knew what lurked under the grill of your prized barbecue, you would make much more of an effort to keep it clean – or hire someone to clean it for you.

Enter the Canadian BBQ Boys, a business started by U of G students Matt McCoy and Michael Sutton. After their first year of business school at U of G, they discovered a market for their elbow grease when put to the task of cleaning greasy barbecues during summer break.

The reputation and client roster of their summer BBQ cleaning business grew rapidly. In their second year of operation, the business got a major boost from the Hub incubator program of U of G’s John F. Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise. They received mentorship, $8,000 in program funding, another $2,000 from Innovation Guelph and general support on how to get a lean start-up off the ground.

Now, the Canadian BBQ Boys have the backing of one of Canada’s best-known entrepreneurs and investors after a successful appearance on the popular CBC television program Dragons’ Den.

Venture capitalist Jim Treliving, who is chairman and owner of Boston Pizza, saw a lot of potential in the BBQ cleaning business when the young entrepreneurs made a compelling pitch for investment on the show. Treliving invested $50,000 for a 10-per-cent stake in the company.