Young Canadian Entrepreneurs Champion Positive Social Change: Six Finalists Chosen to Start Something with Alesse, Vote Now for Your Favourite Project

Feb 15, 2011 | Corporate Member News

Have you ever wondered how today’s youth will change the course of the future? Based on the six projects shortlisted by the Start Something with Alesse contest, the future is smart, creative, and full of compassion. 

Today, Start Something with Alesse announces the six finalists to move onto the contest’s voting phase for a chance to win $5,000 and mentoring to help realize their dream.

The Start Something with Alesse contest’s role models, Christine Ho and Marième Ndiaye, reviewed the many great entries received to narrow it down to the final six.

“With so many ambitious and creative submissions it was a tough decision. It shows just how motivated young Canadians are to ‘start something’ of their own,” says Marième Ndiaye, a former MusiquePlus VJ and member of the singing group CEA. “I look forward to sharing my experiences and advice with the winners.”

The finalists’ projects are now posted online at Two winners will be determined based on votes earned through online voting by the general public. Canadians can vote for their favourite project online, starting February 14, until March 4, 2011 (11:59pm ET). Voting is limited to one vote per email address per day. Let the voting begin!   

Meet the Finalists:

Finalists, include:

Lizzy Clarke, Ontario, Rampant Studios: Musician’s community center
Lizzy Clarke
is a woman of many, many talents: musician, artist, philanthropist. And she wants to extend her drive and inspiration to Rampant Studios, the go-to hub for the local music and art scene. Whether your band is looking to promote an upcoming event, take part in a jam session or even record a demo, Rampant Studios will be a welcome, warm space for everyone.

Yana Hempler, British Columbia, YOUNight for Compassion and Fashion
For years, Yana Hempler has volunteered and listened to the stories of the homeless. But she wants to do even more to help. By combining her second passion, fashion, Yana wants to start YOUNight for Compassion and Fashion, an annual fashion show. Through proceeds raised, a local drop-in centre will be helped as well as showcasing local businesses and artists – win,  win!

Sheyla Abdic, Ontario, E-Quality Tutors
Despite what we thought in grade school, Sheyla Abdic thinks homework isn’t all bad. She understands the value of extra help, especially for those who need it most. She wants to start E-Quality Tutors, and extend the necessary tutoring to those who can’t afford it. This will level the playing field, while also inspiring  tutors themselves to help those less fortunate.  

Sedina Fiati, Ontario, Cyclista
Meet Sedina Fiati:
fun, adventurous, bold and innovative. Wanting to turn dreams into reality with Cyclista, she refuses to sacrifice style (or the environment) for her love of cycling. Sedina envisions a line of eco-friendly bike wear that is both fashionable and functional so you can save the environment, stay healthy and look good while doing it!

Catherine Signori, Quebec, Blue Star Creation Purses
Catherine Signori
knows how to turn lemons into lemonade. After being hit by a car and forced to rethink her career, she jumped on the opportunity to begin creating one-of-a-kind handbags with Blue Star Creation Purses. Not only are they beautiful and unique, but they’re also reducing waste in our environment by reusing clothes – giving them a second chance at life (just like she was given!).

Annie Bussière, Quebec, The Abandoned Animal Shelter
Annie Bussière
has all the qualities necessary to do something great; add on a true love and passion for animals, and you’ve got a winning combo. Having recently realized the County in which she works doesn’t have an animal shelter, she dreams to open The Abandoned Animal Shelter to help our furry friends who desperately need some TLC.

“I urge everyone to help one of these finalists ‘start something’ by voting for your favourite project; I can’t wait to see who Canada selects as the two winners,” says, Christine Ho. “I also encourage everyone who did submit their proposals to continue working towards realizing their dream – it is possible!”

Start Something with Alesse is a one-of-a-kind Canadian initiative. Inspired by the resourcefulness and community focused characteristic of Generation Y (or those born between 1980 and 1999), the program is designed to solicit innovative proposals from young adults committed to bringing about positive change in their own lives and the lives of those around them.

Following the voting period, the two finalists who have received the most votes will be announced as the winners. Alesse will provide each winner with a $5,000 grant to help them start realizing their dreams. The program will also help to establish a relationship between the contest winners and mentors Christine Ho and Marième Ndiaye.

“Today’s generation is ambitious and community minded, and we not only want to inspire young Canadians to be creative and inspirational, we want to help them achieve their goals,” says John McKendry, Pfizer Canada Inc. “These six finalists have certainly shown us what they can do and we are proud to provide two of them with the resources to ‘start something’ of their own.” 

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 potentially receive mentoring and financial support to “start something” unique.

Entries were accepted from October 25, 2010 to 9:00am ET January 4, 2011. Following the call for entries, the entries were judged against the criteria listed in the official Rules and Regulations, and the finalists selected by Christine and Marième.

The Voting Period will begin on February 14 to 11:59pm ET and run until March 4, 2011. Voting is limited to one vote per person per day. The two contest winners will then be determined based on the two projects with the most online votes earned during the voting phase of the program. The winners will receive $5,000 each to help them get started!

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

About Generation Y
Unlike any generation before, Generation Y (Gen Y) has a heightened sense of community and is exceedingly creative and intuitive.  Gen Y, or Millennials, are the children of the Baby Boomer generation and were born between 1980 and 1999.1 Collectively, Gen Y is understood to be both socially conscious and volunteer-minded.2

Typically, Gen Ys also like to be challenged and often perform best under pressure.2 They are interested in getting involved with companies whose leaders inspire and challenge them to grow, creating ways for them to use their talents and skills.1 Furthermore, this generation seeks a multi-dimensional life, satisfying themselves through both their work and personal lives.1

Video News Release will be available via satellite on Tuesday February 15, 2011 at
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Sujansky, Joanne and Ferri-Reed, Jan. Keeping the Millennials. 2009.

Eisner, S. (2005). Managing Generation Y (lead article) (revised after Proceedings). Advanced Management Journal (SAM), 70 (4), 4-15. Accessed September 2010.

About Pfizer in Canada
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world’s leading biopharmaceutical company. The company is one of the largest contributors to health research in Canada. Our diversified health care portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world’s best-known consumer products.

Every day, Pfizer Canada 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 philosophy and programs, visit To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit

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