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Invested in Whistler in more ways than one

Dragon's Den alumni Bruce Coxon set to host third annual Excellence Awards

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One year ago, Pique spoke with multi-millionaire and Dragon's Den star Bruce Croxon about life, finances and his longtime connection to Whistler.

What's he been up to since then?

"Probably more of the same," Croxon said, from his home base in Toronto.

"I'm still pretty active in investing in early-stage companies, still putting the finishing touches on closing funds to invest in growth-stage digital companies... I've had a busy year."

So busy, in fact, that Croxon has decided to step away from his role on Dragon's Den to focus on other investments.

"It does only take 20 days to film the show, but there's a lot of demands in terms of the companies, the small companies that you end up spending time with," Croxon said.

"I just thought it would be best to focus on my main line of work for awhile."

For as busy as everyday life can be for Croxon, coming back to Whistler provides some welcome relief.

"It always feels good to be heading back to Whistler. I make a point of getting out there as much as I can," he said.

"I always start feeling calmer the moment I get over the Lions Gate Bridge."

The avid skier and Lavalife co-owner has also been an owner of the spa at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler since 2001.

On June 26, he'll bring his expertise to the MC podium at the third annual Whistler Excellence Awards.

"I'm most at home in a room full of entrepreneurs and small business people, so for me it's an easy thing to say yes to," Croxon said, of hosting the event.

"I think any time we can pull a bunch of people together and recognize some of the achievements that some of these small companies have been able to do, I think that's really positive for small business in general, (and) very encouraging for them to be recognized by their peers."

Being known for a television show about making or breaking small businesses, you'd think Croxon might tire of offering his two cents.

In fact, it's the exact opposite.

"I get a real charge out of seeing small companies grow into medium-sized companies, and all the sort of trials and tribulations that that brings," he said.

"It's just this side of a hobby for me, and I get really excited. Not as excited as I get, you know, up Spanky's on a powder day, but not far off."

So what kind of advice does he offer to small business owners?

"The best piece of advice I think is don't let the downs get you too down and don't get too attached to the highs, because neither one of them are gonna last," he said.

"It's a rollercoaster of ups and downs, and the sooner you realize that it's cyclical, and if you hang in there good things will happen, that better allows you to survive the downtimes. It's never all easy."

The Whistler Excellence Awards are set for June 26 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

Early bird tickets are available until June 17 at www.whistlerchamber.com.

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