Judges praise this year’s crop of contestants

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Tim Richard remembers all too well the nerves of being a contestant in the Lion’s Lair quest for a slice of $100,000 in cash and prizes.

It was just two years ago that his team at Weever Apps took the inaugural grand prize in the Hamilton-grown business battle and now Richard is one of five judges charged with picking this year’s winners.

He knows what’s at stake.

“It got us noticed. It legitimized us overnight,” Richard said about winning the competition. “It’s not only a great event, it’s so powerful.”

This year, the five judges made their decision as a group after a marathon day of listening to pitches in August. They’ve been holding on to the secret since then, with some not even telling their spouses.

The results will be unveiled Thursday evening. The initiative is a partnership between Innovation Factory and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

The panel had a diversity of viewpoints and there was plenty of debate but there was general agreement, too, said Blair McKeil, who heads up his family’s tug and vessel business, McKeil Marine.

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