Gen Ys define their career path; it's about what you love

Six finalists chosen to Start Something with Alesse! Vote now for your favourite idea to help make it a reality

KIRKLAND, QC, Jan. 8, 2013 /CNW/ - This week, the Start Something with Alesse contest is proud to announce the six top finalists who have shown their passion for doing something they want to do through their creative and innovative project ideas.

Tapping into their entrepreneurial spirit, hundreds of Canadians answered the call for entries.  Entrants were passionate about the projects they wanted to start, and their interests were varied. As shown in the Start Something with Alesse survey, Canadians want to start a variety of things, including: businesses (26%), community programs (10%), social (11%), music (9%), fashion (8%), sports (9%), environmental (9%), charitable (7%) and 11 per cent were unsure of what they wanted to do.1 The entries reflected this, with project ideas ranging from community not-for-profit organizations to website start-ups.

Last year's Start Something with Alesse contest winners, Jesse Robson of the Centre for the Arts Exchange and Alyssa Reid of Planet Pounds, selected the six finalists, who are now in the running to receive mentoring and a $5,000 grant in financial support or an iPad* to help them start that something they are interested in pursuing.

"To be included in this year's contest finalists selection was wonderful," says Jesse. "Young Canadians are passionate, engaging and eager to work towards something they love to do. Now it's up to Canadians to help determine who will win by going online and voting, once a day, for their favourite idea. I was humbled by my community's support to help make me a winner, and I know this year's winners will feel the same way."

Introducing the Finalists

Casey Watamaniuk and Vélos (Courtenay, BC) - Inspired by the beautiful landscape of British Columbia, Casey wants to see nature more incorporated in urban lives. By creating Vélos, a service where people can donate their unwanted bikes to those who need transportation, she hopes to empower those who do not have the means by giving them a way to get from point A to point B.

Natalie Ast and Tutus for Tots: Donated Dancewear (Toronto, ON) - A long-time dancer who is passionate about the arts and an advocate for arts and culture in the media, Natalie's project Tutus for Tots: Donated Dancewear aims to provide gently used dance clothes to give kids whose families may not be able to afford them the opportunity to dance. Natalie is a true believer in the power of dance and wants to make it accessible and affordable for everyone, no matter what their financial situation.

Nikki Zhang and Upcycling Garage - Island of Refit Toys (Ottawa, ON) - Dedicated to conservation and sustainability, Nikki believes we shouldn't be discarding perfectly good items just because they may be a little bruised, broken or damaged. Upcycling Garage - Island of Refit Toys is a two-fold project consisting of a workspace and store. Visitors can use the workspace, and get help and guidance to transform their old items into new treasures, or visit the store to buy upcycled items. This space would help people take an old item and make it new again.

Audrey-Ann Frenette and Retirement Action (Repentigny, QC) - A cultural activity leader in her community, Audrey sees the value of staying connected and active at all ages and abilities. Her project is to create a guide to local activities for people at a critical stage of life transition, retirement. The guide would help people choose activities best suited to their needs, physical abilities and financial means. In addition to the guide, she would also organize presentations on the transition to retirement, to provide support and answering the tough questions, including those around health concerns.

Alynne Harel and Special Friends (Thunder Bay, ON) - Recognizing the critical importance of a social support system in high school, Special Friends matches up students with disabilities with like-minded students from the same high schools. Alynne aims to use this program to help abolish bullying, while building lasting relationships that will impact the lives of both individuals participating.

Leigh Boyle and The Lipstick Project (North Vancouver, BC) - Being in the hospital or in a hospice is physically and emotionally draining, and people who are in these situations often have the strong desire to feel like themselves again. The Lipstick Project contributes to patients' healing process by providing free professional spa services to extended-care patients in hospitals and hospices. Leigh believes a little pampering can go a long way, and is often just what the doctor ordered.

"I encourage every Canadian to have a hand in choosing the winners by voting on," says Alyssa. "I know what it's like to have a big idea, but need help to get it started. The Start Something with Alesse contest helped me with my project by breaking down those financial and support barriers, and my project is now getting off the ground."

From now until February 17, 2013, Canadians can visit to vote once a day for their favourite idea. Two winners will be selected based on public votes and will receive a $5,000 grant to get started with their winning project, as well as be paired up with a mentor in a related field to provide guidance on their specific project needs.  The four remaining finalists will each receive an iPad*.

For more details on these exciting project ideas and to vote for your favourite, log on to today and follow the action on Facebook at

About Start Something with Alesse

Start Something with Alesse is a one-of-a-kind initiative empowering young Canadians to articulate their personal goals and receive mentoring and financial support to "start something" unique.

Entries were accepted from August 27, 2012 until October 31, 2012 at 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time). Upon receiving the creative and insightful entries, they were then judged based on the criteria listed in the official Rules and Regulations and selected by Jesse and Alyssa.

The voting period begins on January 7, 2013 and will run until February 17, 2013. Voting is limited to one vote per person per day. The two contest winners will be determined based on the number of votes received.

The official contest rules and regulations along with an overview of how to vote can be found at

About Pfizer in Canada

Every day, Pfizer Canada Inc. employees work to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. We apply science and our global resources to improve the health and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life.

Our commitment is reflected in everything we do, from our disease awareness initiatives to our community partnerships, to our belief that it takes more than medication to be truly healthy. To learn more about Pfizer's More Than Medication initiative, visit To learn more about Pfizer Canada Inc., visit

*iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc., and in no way endorses or sponsors the Start Something with Alesse contest, its finalists or participants.

1 Leger Marketing. Start Something with Alesse Survey. Fielded July 30 to August 17, 2012.


Video with caption: "Video: Gen Ys define their career path; it's about what you love". Video available at:

Image with caption: "Gen Ys define their career path; it's about what you love (CNW Group/Pfizer Canada Inc.)". Image available at:

SOURCE: Pfizer Canada Inc.

For further information:

For more information or for contest entry details, please contact:

Julie-Catherine Racine
Corporate Communications
Pfizer Canada Inc.

Karley Ura
NATIONAL Public Relations

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