Canada's votes are in: who is the winner of the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award?

Nova Scotia café founder Zane Kelsall brews up success, taking the $100,000 BDC Grand Prize for Innovation

MONTREAL, June 25, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - In an online contest that drew widespread participation from across Canada, voters have chosen the project submitted by Two If By Sea Café of Nova Scotia as the recipient of the $100,000 BDC Grand Prize for Innovation. Two If By Sea Café founder, Zane Kelsall, is the winner of the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award.

Kelsall's Two If By Sea cafés go through up to 40,000 pounds of coffee a year and see a high demand for ethically bought, locally roasted coffee. His Anchored Coffee project involves opening a roastery that aims to have an impact locally and globally by buying all of its coffee direct from farmers in Central and South America. The project includes a front-of-house coffee lab where customers can enjoy exclusive tasting and find out more about direct trade and coffee through seminars and courses. The lab will also double as a training location for Two If By Sea Café staff.

"Winning this prize is huge," says Kelsall. "The $100,000 will essentially cover our roastery start-up costs. Instead of opening in a couple of years, it means we can move full speed ahead and grow our business to join the ranks of those making a real difference in the lives of coffee farmers and their communities much sooner."

For the first time in 2012, the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest engaged the general public in choosing the winner of the $100,000 BDC Grand Prize for Innovation.  The contest introduced an innovative online approach that used mobile technologies and the power of social media to enable Canadians to vote for the eight projects that competed in the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award finals.

"Congratulations to Zane," says Jean-René Halde, President and CEO at BDC. "Nowadays, the web and social media have become central to business success, and what makes a company stand out is the ability to tell its story in a compelling way. Two If By Sea Café's success in attracting local and national support bodes well for its ability to attract clients in the future."

During the three-week voting period that started on May 30 and ended on June 19, Anchored Coffee, the project submitted by Two If By Sea Café founder Zane Kelsall, received the greatest number of votes. Star Guitars, the project submitted by Mike Miltimore of Lee's Music, received the second highest number of votes and won a $25,000 customized Internet strategy provided by BDC Consulting.

Kelsall says he is overwhelmed by the voter response: "I want to thank everybody for their support in these last few weeks. Since the day we opened our first café in Dartmouth, we have been blown away by the love, support and loyalty we received. We can't wait to repay the favour with the great taste of Anchored Coffee!"

Kelsall also sees potential for creating a made-in-Canada Anchored Coffee brand. "Our ultimate dream is to start relationships with independent cafés in every major centre across Canada and be able to supply them with great coffees that benefit both farmers and consumers."

BDC will accompany the Grand Prize winner in implementing his innovation project. Kelsall will document the progress of his winning project through a video journal and will share frequent updates on BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award contest microsite and on Facebook at BDC Entrepreneur.

About the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest
Created by the Business Development Bank of Canada in 1988, the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest pays tribute to successful Canadian entrepreneurs between 18 and 35 years of age. For the first time in 2012, the contest has seen finalists competing for the BDC Grand Prize for Innovation which awarded $100,000 to one young Canadian entrepreneur to carry out a specific innovation project. The Financial Post was the exclusive media partner of the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award. The contest was sponsored by Les Affaires.

The eight projects that competed in the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award finals were:

  • Anchored Coffee: Zane Kelsall, 27, Two If By Sea Café, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
  • Sole Solution: Philippe Durocher, 34, Laboratoire Bergeron, Montréal, Quebec
  • A Robot with Smarts: Miguel Clement, 30, Inovatech Engineering Corp., Ottawa, Ontario
  • Grants with a Difference: Michael Legary, 32, Seccuris Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • The Drop-in Office: Curtis Olson, 34, Shift Development Inc., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • A Greener Footprint: Patrick Bergevin, 35, Chinook Foot Orthotic Laboratory Inc., Calgary, Alberta
  • Star Guitars: Mike Miltimore, 35, Lee's Music, Kamloops. British Columbia
  • Arctic Fitness: Tara Newbigging, 27, Fit 2 the T, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

About BDC
Canada's business development bank, BDC, puts entrepreneurs first. With almost 1,900 employees and more than 100 business centres across the country, BDC offers financing, subordinate financing, venture capital and consulting services to 29,000 small and medium-sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada's economic prosperity.


For further information:

Maria Constantinescu
Advisor, Public Relations
(514) 496-7146

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