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The Bachelor’s Ben Flajnik

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How Ben Flajnik's wine-making venture has benefited

If you're a reality-TV follower, you may remember Ben Flajnik, who was first spurned in the 2011 season of The Bachelorette, went on to become The Bachelor star in 2012 and then broke up with the woman to whom he got engaged.

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Matters of the heart may not have worked out, but those stints on the reality TV shows have been a boost to his entrepreneurial venture as a wine maker, reports this piece on Entrepreneur.

Mr. Flajnik started his Envolve Winery with a childhood friend (whose family was already in the wine business at the famous Benzinger Family Winery) in 2008, before his reality-TV appearances.

In the Entrepreneur piece, he reveals that the shows may have helped boost finances for his two startup labels, Envolve and Epilogue, by 50 per cent or more; that it's a "tough balance" to get people to buy his wines for their merits, rather than for his fame, and that this marks his fifth startup effort.

As well, he advises, "if you're thinking of doing some sort of reality show to help the business, just make sure the business can stand on its own first."

Oh, and if you're wondering whether he's still looking for love, the answer is apparently yes: He has now turned to an online dating app, according to this Us story.

Reality TV has been good for other wannabe entrepreneurs. Have a look back at this Forbes piece, for instance, about some who carved entrepreneurial success out of reality-TV fame.

Here are three lessons entrepreneurs can take away from reality TV, and 10 tips to get your business on reality TV.

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From our own archives, here are reality shows that entrepreneurs love to watch and, if you're hoping to use a reality show as a launching pad, you have 30 seconds to make your pitch.

Entrepreneur aims for Uber-like snowplow summoning service

As the flakes fall relentlessly and Ontario, for one, gets its biggest blast of winter in years, it's hard not to think of, well, snow.

A Massachusetts-based entrepreneur hopes the winter blast hitting the entire northeast may be just the push needed to help his snowplow summoning startup service, reports this piece.

Like Uber Inc., whose mobile app allows car services to be summoned as needed, the entrepreneur working on Plowme.com hopes to create a similar service for snowplowing. While Uber has come to Canada, PlowMe is now offering its service around Boston, New Hampshire, Denver and Chicago.

The lower the calories, the higher the sales

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Hold the plate of fries and the big vat of cola: Food and drinks containing fewer calories are creating more sales at fast-food and sit-down restaurant chains, according to a study of 21 of them as reported in The Wall Street Journal.

The study, by the Hudson Institute with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that same-store sales in restaurants that bumped up their low-cal offerings rose an average of 5.5 per cent between 2006 and 2011, while those that had fewer low-cal servings experienced the same sized decrease, according to The Journal. It also found that sales of the number of low-cal food and drink servings were up over the same period, while sales of high-cal items were down.

Definitions: low-cal servings came in at 500 or fewer calories for sandwiches and entrees; 50 or fewer calories for drinks; and 150 or fewer calories for side dishes, appetizers and desserts, according to the Journal's reporting.

KEY EVENTS AND DATES

Bridging the gap: financial literacy

Bridging the financial literacy gap is the first of a series of Startup Canada events aimed at helping to advance Canadian entrepreneurship. It takes place March 4 in Ottawa. Opening remarks will be made by Minister of State for Small Business Maxime Bernier, and the keynote address will be made by Intuit Canada chief executive officer Jeff Cates, also one of the participants in a panel discussion. For more information, click here.

East Coast Startup Week

The first East Coast Startup Week will be held in Fredericton from March 20 to March 24, offering events ranging from seminars to workshops to trade shows, all aimed at encouraging entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada. For more information, click here.

What's Next Boomer Business Summit

As more boomers turn to entrepreneurship and more entrepreneurial opportunities abound to cater to aging boomers, the What's Next Boomer Business Summit focuses on the "boomer and beyond marketplace." For those in or interested in getting into the market, the event takes place March 12 in Chicago. For further details, click here.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Why 5,000 is a 'magic number' for stockbroker turned wine maker

Since its first release, Painted Rock Estate Winery has raked in accolades and awards. Check out our Q&A with founder John Skinner.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

The next boomer bonanza

The massive generation that's been driving consumer demand now inspires a whole new sector: niche businesses to serve older adults through their retirement years, reported this story published in August, 2011.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com Join The Globe's Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT Our free weekly newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe's website, you can sign up here . Click on the Small Business Briefing checkbox and hit 'save changes.' If you need to register for the site, click here .

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