Ten young Canadians prepare to compete for the top spots, with two eliminated each round - Canadians are invited to vote for their favourite today!
KIRKLAND, QC, Jan. 16, 2014 /CNW/ - This week, the Start Something with Alesse contest is proud to announce the top ten finalists. Free the Children global ambassador Jessi Cruickshank, and actress, singer-songwriter, and entrepreneur Caroline Néron, selected the top five Start Inspiring with Alesse ideas (not-for-profit category) and top five Start Innovating with Alesse ideas (for-profit category) out of the more than 1,300 entries this year.
"It was not easy picking the finalists, let me tell you!" said Jessi. "The projects this year were truly outstanding, and a real testament to the creativity and innovation of young Canadians."
The ten finalists are now in the running to win a mentorship and $5,000 in financial support to help them start their project. Runners-up will each receive an iPad mini.*
Canadians are invited to vote for their favourite project in each category at http://facebook.startsomethingwithalesse.ca/, once per day. Voting is even more critical this year as the Start Innovating and Start Inspiring project with the fewest votes at the end of each round will be eliminated. The Start Innovating and Start Inspiring project with the most votes at the close of voting will each be deemed the winner.
The eliminations will take place on February 3, February 17, and February 24, 2014. This means that in order to stay in the running, finalists will have to get out there and promote their project in the battle for votes. As finalists are eliminated the competition will become fierce, as Canadians zero in on their favourites. Voting closes on March 3, 2014, when it will be down to the final two in each category. Only one from each category will emerge as victor.
Introducing the Finalists
Start Innovating with Alesse
Diana Guerra: One Coffee at a Time (OCAT) (Montreal, QC) - Canadians drink 100 million pounds of coffee every year - and most of the grounds go directly to the landfill. Diana came up with a creative (and delicious) way to harness the waste; upcycle coffee ground waste from coffee shops and cafeterias, and use it to grow gourmet oyster mushrooms. OCAT will then sell the mushrooms to local establishments, creating a sustainable business. The coffee shops also benefit, as they can reduce their carbon footprint at no cost. To get the project off the ground, Diana will start a pilot project with the mushroom technology and build a website and get the word out.
Eropa Stein: eStaffMatch (Toronto, ON) - Event organizers use staffing agencies to find event staff; but when Eropa worked at a staffing agency, she noticed they charge a premium for the service and servers only get a fraction of the pay. So Eropa created eStaffMatch to cut out the middleman. eStaffMatch is an online marketplace to connect event organizers directly with event staff. Servers can post profiles with their availability and hourly rate, and event organizers can hire them and post reviews of their performance. Event organizers pay a monthly subscription and event staff pay a small transaction fee, but in the end, event staff earn higher wages and event organizers save money.
Sarah Lussier: Strawberries and Oregano - A Winning Combination! (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC) - The battle between farmers and the insects that eat their crops has always been fierce - but harsh pesticides can hurt the environment. Sarah is tackling this issue head on, by researching the ability of essential oils (primarily oil of oregano) to protect strawberry crops. She started her research in 2009, and is in talks to work with the Research Institute for Development (IRD) in Tunisia and the University of Liege in Belgium. Once she proves that the oil of oregano is effective, Sarah plans to publish her discovery and then work to commercialize it, creating a natural pesticide that is good for the environment, human health, and farmers.
Sarah Pirani and Costa Pavlou: SKYSPACE Studio (Toronto, ON) - How do you recover functional, aesthetic green space in rapidly developing cities? Look upward! Sarah and Costa launched SKYSPACE Studio to design, install and maintain green roofs - vegetation planted over a roof's waterproofing layer. Demand for green roofs is growing. They reduce energy consumption in buildings and the urban heat island effect, improve air quality and storm water management, and increase biodiversity. These landscape architecture grads have a combined background in design, entrepreneurship and green roof installation. They're ready to increase Toronto's residential green roof coverage.
Crystal Morin and Chris Peters: The Hop'n Orchard Brewing Company (St. Catharines, ON) - As craft brew aficionados, Crystal and Chris noticed a void in their community; despite the abundance of orchards in Niagara, no breweries were using the local harvest to make interesting craft beers. So they started the Hop'n Orchard Brewing Company, to make unique craft beers using local fruit, honey and maple syrup. Once the brew operation is up and running, they will start growing their own hops in partnership with grape growers, to create hops with a unique flavour profile that could only be found in Niagara.
Start Inspiring with Alesse
Josephine Torossian: Seeing Voices Montreal (Montreal, QC) - Languages have always intrigued Josephine, and she tested her skills when she began to learn American Sign Language (ASL). Its ability to allow individuals to communicate, and express so much through gestures and facial expressions made Josephine fall in love with it. She was shocked, however, at the level of isolation and discrimination her deaf friends endured. Inspired to break down barriers, Josephine started Seeing Voices - an ASL theatre group to bridge the gap between the Deaf and hearing worlds. Their goal is to convey equality amidst diversity through theatre, by performing adaptations of well-known children's plays with a Deaf culture twist. Their first play will be called 'Deaf Snow White', and is set to open in early 2014.
Zena Chaudhry: Giving Ridge - Smarter Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (Mississauga, ON) - Many charities install wells for the more than 780 million people who have no access to safe drinking water. Unfortunately, what most people don't know is that these wells often break, and locals don't know how to fix them. Zena created Giving Ridge, an organization to monitor and restore wells, keeping clean water in communities that so badly need it. Giving Ridge will not only implement well monitoring programs and procedures, but will also train community leaders in well maintenance, giving them a sense of ownership. Giving Ridge will also implement rainwater harvesting structures, water purifiers, and sanitation stations to decrease the spread of disease.
Marie-Pier Gosselin: Helping Hands (Montreal, QC) - Every year perfectly good food is left to rot in farmers' fields, if they don't have the resources to harvest it. Marie-Pier wants to reduce the waste by creating Helping Hands, a program where volunteers recover unwanted harvest and distribute it to organizations that help the needy. Inspired by the ancient concept of gleaning salvaging fallen food that would otherwise be discarded - Marie-Pier sees Helping Hands as a way to support farmers, get healthy meals to those in need, and give volunteers the opportunity to connect with agriculture in a meaningful way while helping their community.
Chelsea Ferrando: Fight Like a Girl (Toronto, ON) - As a Pan American Gold Medalist in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Chelsea wanted to use her power to combat violence against women. So she started Fight Like a Girl. The free self-defence workshops help women and girls feel strong and capable, by making a plan for their safety and learning how to use their bodies in powerful new ways to defend themselves. Ultimately, Chelsea wants to expand the program to a second focus on prevention, talking to men and boys about their role in preventing violence against women. These discussions will help men recognize pressures that can make them feel powerless, and how that affects their relationships with women.
Maike van Niekerk: Katrin's Karepackage (St. John's, Nfld.) - In Newfoundland, the only place to get radiation cancer treatment is in St. John's. However, the province only reimburses a fraction of travel costs, making treatment inaccessible for many low-income patients living outside of St. John's. Inspired by her mother Katrin, who died of breast cancer, Maike wants to change this inaccessibility by starting a fund to help pay for travel costs for cancer patients. In June 2014 she will kick-off fundraising for Katrin's Karepackage by biking across the island, (about 1,040 km over 11 days) to symbolize cancer patients' long journey to access treatment. Along the way she will give talks to raise awareness and funds, to give cancer patients a fighting chance.
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 30, 2013 until October 31, 2013 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 Jessi Cruikshank and Caroline Néron. The voting period begins on January 13, 2014 and will run until February 24, 2014. Voting is limited to one vote per person per day.
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 morethanmedication.ca. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit pfizer.ca or you can follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/PfizerCA) or Facebook (facebook.com/Pfizer.Canada).
*iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc., and in no way endorses or sponsors the Start Something with Alesse contest, its finalists or participants.
SOURCE: Pfizer Canada Inc.
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