January 25th, 2022

Local Dragons’ Den duo awarded Desjardins grant

By MO CRANKER on September 9, 2019.

Literacy Lane owners Laurie-Haliwyz-Way and Lisa Warkin pose for a photo with the Desjardins logo. The pair was one of nine businesses selected by Desjardins to be part of its GoodSpark program.


Hatters Lisa Warken and Laurie Haliwyz-Way still aren’t able to say if they struck a deal on Dragons’ Den, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t come back to Alberta with a bit of good news.

The pair were one of more than 3,000 businesses to pitch to the show and ended up being one of the 100 selected to make a live pitch to the Dragon panel in Ontario. Before they could pitch their business Literacy Lane, they ended up shortlisted for the Desjardins GoodSpark program – a complete surprise, according to the women.

“The GoodSpark program is sponsoring the Den this year and out of the 100 in Toronto we were shortlisted for the program,” said Warken. “The program supports businesses that positively impact youth in Canada under 30.

“Our business met that criteria because we work with school-aged children – we walked away knowing the grant would be great but we really didn’t expect anything.”

The pair’s business offers a number of educational activities that target language, math and executive function through movement – all of which they say is based off of research.

The women received the call on Aug. 29 that they would be one of nine businesses to be awarded the grant, which will do a lot of the Hat-based business.

“We were obviously really excited to hear back from them – we didn’t expect this,” said Haliwyz-Way. “They’re looking at promoting us across Canada and we’re now allowed to use their logo along with ours.

“They’ll be looking at doing advertising for us – we’re not at liberty to say how much money the grant is for but it’s to help us achieve our mission and help them achieve their mission of impacting Canadian youth.”

The women say their first goal with the grant is to give a bit of a benefit to the local area, and they’ve marked everything in their online store at half price.

“It’s important for us to make an impact locally in our community,” said Warken. “After that, our game plan is to expand provincially and nationally.”

The 14th season of Dragons’ Den will begin to hit Canadian TVs this month and the pair is hoping their pitch will be selected to be broadcast nationally.

“We can’t say anything about how it went – our kids don’t even know,” said Haliwyz-Way. “We had a fun time when we went to Toronto and we hope we make it on TV.”

The pair will be holding a viewing party if they get word that their pitch is making the show. It will be open to everyone – the time and location will be announced on the Literacy Lane Facebook page.

More information can be found online at http://www.literacylane.ca.

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