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Arlene Dickinson
Arlene Dickinson 2021.jpg
Dickinson in 2021
Born (1956-10-08) 8 October 1956 (age 67)
Germiston, Transvaal Union of South Africa
Nationality Canadian
Occupation General Partner, District Ventures Capital
Political party Independent

Arlene Dickinson (born October 8, 1956) is a South African Canadian businesswoman, investor, author, and television personality. She is the general partner of District Ventures Capital and CEO of Venturepark. Dickinson joined the cast of the CBC business reality show Dragons' Den during its second season in 2007 and departed in the ninth season in 2015. She then returned to continue with the Dragons for the 12th season in 2017. She was selected to perform on the series after she won numerous awards, including Calgary Business Owner of the Year, PROFIT magazine's Top 100 Women Business Owners, the Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards and Canada's Most Powerful Women Top 100. The show describes her as a self-made multi-millionaire.

Personal life

Born in Germiston, Union of South Africa, and raised in Canada, Dickinson graduated from high school in Calgary, Alberta. She married at age 19 and had four children. She divorced at 31. She has seven grandchildren.

Politically, Dickinson identifies as non-partisan. When her former Dragons' Den co-star Kevin O'Leary entered the leadership race for the Conservative Party of Canada, she responded by saying that he "has this notion that greed is good." Afterwards, she criticized O'Leary for confusing the national debt with the deficit.


Dickinson joined Venture Communications in 1988, taking sole ownership in 1998. In October 2012, she launched Arlene Dickinson Enterprises (ADE) to fund and target Canada's entrepreneurs.

Over the years, Dickinson has served on boards including Ad Rodeo, Kids Help Phone, and the Calgary Municipal Lands Corporation. She sits on the advisory committee of the Stratford Institute at the University of Waterloo, the Leadership Council of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics as well as the editorial advisory board of Marketing Magazine. .....


In 2011, Dickinson published her first book, Persuasion, her autobiography. Her second book, All In, subtitled "You, Your Business, Your Life", was released in 2013.

In 2019, Dickinson released her third book, Reinvention: Changing Your Life, Your Career, Your Future.


Dickinson starred as a dragon investor on Dragons' Den, starting in 2007 for the second season. She also starred in her own spinoff, The Big Decision. In 2015, Dickinson announced that she was leaving Dragons' Den after the ninth season. She returned for season 12 in 2017.

In 2012, Dickinson guest starred as a past version of herself on the Canadian TV series Murdoch Mysteries, in the episode called "Invention Convention", as a possible investor. She has also appeared as a judge on Recipe to Riches in the 2014 season.

In 2017, Dickinson hosted Under New Management, a television special in which she guided aspiring new entrepreneurs in the process of purchasing a business.

In 2018, Dickinson and singer Jann Arden debuted as cohosts of The Business of Life, a lifestyle podcast on topics such as entrepreneurship, motherhood, writing, relationships and navigating life challenges.


Dickinson has been inducted into Canada's Most Powerful Women Top 100 Hall of Fame. In 2014, Dickinson was one of the recipients of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards presented by Canadian Immigrant Magazine. Her company Venture Communications was noted as one of the 2001 winners on the list of Canada's Best Managed Companies sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post, Queen's School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums.

Commonwealth honours

Location Date Appointment Post-nominal letters
 Canada 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (Canadian Version)

Honorary degrees

Location Date School Degree Gave Commencement Address
 Nova Scotia October 2, 2010 Mount Saint Vincent University Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) Yes
 Alberta 2010 Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Yes
 Quebec June 7, 2016 Concordia University Doctor of Laws (LL.D) Yes
 Alberta June 3, 2017 Olds College Bachelor of Applied Science - Agribusiness Yes

Honorary military appointments

Military Branch Date Affiliation Position
Canada Royal Canadian Navy June 22, 2012 – Present Office of the Director General Maritime Strategic Management Honorary Captain


Dickinson was the national spokesperson for Breakfast Clubs of Canada to help raise awareness of the importance of children having a nutritious start to the day. In 2013, she joined on as a champion of the Give a Day campaign, in support of Dignitas International and the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

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