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Arlene Dickinson, business entrepreneur and one of stars of Dragons’ Den is photographed in Toronto, Ont. Sept. 16/2011.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Dragons' Den is losing another favourite.

After eight seasons on the CBC show, marketing specialist Arlene Dickinson has announced her exit, following in the footsteps of author David Chilton, among others.

Ms. Dickinson said she is stepping away so she'll have time to pursue new business deals.

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"I've got lots going on business-wise, professionally, that is exciting and I want to focus on," she said in an interview. Much like her role on Dragon's Den, Ms. Dickinson said her next move will have something to do with helping entrepreneurs.

Dragon's Den changed over the years Ms. Dickinson participated, and she says she saw the deals become larger and more complex and targeted to certain Dragons.

What didn't change was the passion of participants in the show. "We had everything from the sublime to the ridiculous appear before us – of course everyone who came believed in what they were showing us," she said.

The show took up a lot of time and energy, and turned Ms. Dickinson into both a public figure and a venture capitalist. She said the time spent with analysts, accountants and others to scrutinize deals became a second full time job.

"The time to tape the show is not that much – it's 21 days of taping–but you have to be committed to this," she said. "You have to do your deals, you have to do your due diligence. I mean, you're really creating an investment portfolio."

She said the biggest challenge of being on the show was becoming a major public figure.

"I wasn't someone who ever thought I'd be on a television show," Ms. Dickinson said, adding that she had to manage herself as a person who would be in the public eye, and felt a responsibility to behave as a role model.

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Ms. Dickinson walks away feeling like she made some of the best investments on the show, as well as some duds. She said her best deal was Winnipeg-based OMG Candy.

With fellow dragon David Chilton also recently announcing his departure from the show, Ms. Dickinson says she hopes CBC will be able to find another businesswoman or two to fill the empty seats.

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