News & Media
6th Annual David Sobey Centre National Retail Innovation Awards
Date Published: January 11, 2023
Mark your calendar for the 6th Annual National Retail Innovation Awards hosted by the David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing & Services at Saint Mary's University. Join us for a special luncheon ceremony at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel as we recognize three outstanding organizations for their unique contributions to Canadian retailing.
We are pleased to be welcoming to Halifax this year's keynote speaker,
Lane Merrifield, former “Dragon” on CBC’s Dragons’ Den and Tech Entrepreneur
A former “dragon” on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, Lane Merrifield is one of Canada’s leading tech entrepreneurs. He is the founder of Club Penguin, which was the largest children’s online social network. At age 28, he sold it to Disney for $350 million, where, as their youngest executive vice president, he turned it into a billion-dollar brand. In his talks, Merrifield infuses his core passions of creativity and storytelling to share his extraordinary journey and innovative business strategies that turned him into a “dragon”.
After leaving Club Penguin in 2007, Merrifield was committed to creating a technology eco-system in the Okanagan area in British Columbia. He was integral in the creation of the Kelowna Innovation Centre, which opened in 2017. Merrifield returned to his entrepreneurial roots with the launch of FreshGrade in 2012, which he sold to Higher Ground Education in 2021. This digital portfolio and communication tool allows parents and teachers to track student progress. At the time of its sale, 85,000 teachers and 1.8 million parents were actively using the platform.
Merrifield joined CBC’s Dragons’ Den in 2018 for its 13th season. He spent three seasons as a judge before departing in 2021. Today, Merrifield is an advisor to a company called Dreamscape Learn, which focuses on delivering immersive learning experiences through virtual reality. He also sits on the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation board and is an advisor to several startups.
Under his leadership, Merrifield’s teams have won dozens of awards including a Webby and the prestigious BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television) award for Club Penguin. Merrifield is also the recipient of an Honorary Fellows Award, Business Leader of the Year award, and was named one of the “Top 35 Executives Under 35” by The Hollywood Reporter.