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The New York Public Library Announces Winners of StartUP! Business Plan Competition


2011 Competition Sponsored by Science Industry and Business Library and the Citi Foundation


First Place Winner Receives $15,000 to Start Pre-School in Harlem

The New York Public Library (NYPL) and Citi today announced the winners of New York StartUP! 2011 Business Plan Competition, which was funded by NYPL’s Science Industry and Business Library (SIBL) and the Citi Foundation.  The top prize of $15,000 went to Denise Adusei of Manhattan for her business plan to launch the Peartree Preschool in her Harlem neighborhood.  Ms. Adusei received the award from Pravina Raghavan, New York District Director of the U.S. Small Business Association, who delivered a keynote address to the entrepreneurs, business leaders and Library supporters who were present. 
“The New York StartUP! 2011 Business Plan Competition is an opportunity for the New York Public Library to foster new businesses and support our communities,” said Kristin McDonough, Director of SIBL.  This competition, as well as the assistance we provide at SIBL, is about leveling the playing field and giving visibility to start ups and aspiring entrepreneurs in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. We are very fortunate to have the support of business professionals, who provide dedicated and experienced assistance to our patrons and future business leaders.”
“Small businesses are the key source of job creation and drive the local economy,” said Rei Perez of Citi Community Development.  “In addition, entrepreneurship is an important path to financial self-sufficiency.  As part of our commitment to expanding financial inclusion, Citi is proud to enable underserved New Yorkers to succeed as small business owners by working with the New York Public Library to deliver this impactful program each year.”
More than 500 applications were submitted to the New York StartUP! 2011 Business Plan Competition. As a requirement for consideration, entrants were required to attend orientation, information and counseling sessions that provided practical information about starting and growing a business and the sizeable collection of small business resources at SIBL.  The plans were evaluated by a panel of judges representing local business leaders. 
Ms Adusei’s business plan to launch the Peartree Preschool was selected as the first place winner over 48 other completed plans. “Healthy schools mean healthy children and a healthy planet,” said Ms. Adusei in her submission. “At Peartree Preschool we believe that schools are far more than buildings, classrooms, and curricula. As the first eco-healthy preschool in New York City, we [will] take great care in creating safe environments that inspire imaginations and protect the health of our children and staff.”
Lillian Lee received the second-place award of $7,500 for her plan to create The Grand Assembly, a curated online community that showcases and promotes the creative work of those 60 years and older. 
The third-place award of $5,000 went to Davinder “Bobby” Singh for his business plan for Kashpile, a money management and shopping system that helps children become financially responsible adults by providing them with a safe, experiential learning process. 
Runners-up Brian Foo of the company GiveLoop and Jon Gray with Elizabeth Kim of Jon Gray, International each received $1,500. 
Douglas Santiago of Manhattan, who also participated in the competition, provided entertainment during the program.
Aspiring business owners can learn more about next year’s New York StartUP! 2012 Business Plan Competition by visiting The first orientation session will be held on October 1, 2011 at SIBL.  Attendance at an orientation session is mandatory for those who wish to participate in the competition. In order to qualify, entrants must be 18 years of age or older; live in Manhattan, the Bronx or Staten Island as a legal resident or United States citizen; and desire to start a business in one of those boroughs. The prizes awarded represent the financial amount in total that will be disbursed for the purposes stated in the StartUP! business plan.
About The Science, Industry, and Business Library
The Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL), the nation's largest public information center devoted solely to science and business, was created in 1996 by merging The New York Public Library's extensive resources and services in these areas. Its circulating and noncirculating collections are enhanced by services and electronic resources geared to the needs of science and business users for quick, efficient access to accurate, up-to-date information. Reflecting advances in information and computer technology, SIBL houses multi-format collections. An Electronic Information Center (EIC), with 73 workstations, connects users to the hundreds of internal and external electronic information resources. The EIC is supported by a 39-workstation Electronic Training Center (ETC). SIBL also offers a circulating library of approximately 40,000 titles, and a non-circulating research collection of 1.2 million volumes.
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Its renowned research collections are located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th Street and Madison Avenue. Eighty-seven branch libraries provide access to circulating collections and a wide range of other services in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 65 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. All in all The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at
About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of individuals and families, particularly those in need, in the communities where we work so that they can improve their standard of living. Globally, the Citi Foundation targets its strategic giving to priority focus areas: Microfinance, Enterprise Development, Youth Education and Livelihoods, and Financial Capability and Asset Building. The Citi Foundation works with its partners in Microfinance and Enterprise Development to support environmental programs and innovations. Additional information can be found at
About Citi Community Development
Citi Community Development (CCD) is leading Citi’s commitment to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships.  Our focus areas include:  commercial and philanthropic funding; innovative financial products and services; and collaborations with institutions that expand access to financial products and services for low-income and underserved communities. For more information, please visit