The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winner was announced yesterday, going to Zane Kelsall, owner of Two if By Sea Cafés. Winning the $100,000 BDC Grand Prize for innovation, Nova Scotia-native Kelsall’s proposed Anchored Coffee project promotes the use of ethically purchased and locally roasted coffee in business operations.
Two If By Sea Cafés go through approximately 40,000 pound of coffee annually. Kelsall, in operations, recognized the need for better coffee production. Proposing Anchored Coffee, the project was created in an effort to open a local roastery that aims to have global impact as Kelsall plans to purchase coffee direct from Central and South American farmers. Anchored Coffee would include a front-of-house coffee lab to allow customers to enjoy exclusive coffee tasting opportunities as well as allow locals and customers alike to learn about coffee and direct trade through offered seminars and courses. Staff training for Two If By Sea would be conducted on site as well.
"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."
This year, the BDC Young Entreprenuer decision process was conducted a little bit differently. Allowing the general public to choose the winner of the $100,000 BDC Grand Prize for innovation, the contest introduced an online approach that utilized mobile technology and social media to interact with Canadians in an effort to determine between the eight qualifying projects.
"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."
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Although Anchored Coffee took the Grand Prize, it wasn’t the only cash prize winner. Coming in at second place was Star Guitars, a project submitted by Mike Miltimore of Lee’s Music, which received $25,000 customized Internet Strategy provided by BDC Consulting.
"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! 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."