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The New York Public Library Announces Winners of New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition 2012, Sponsored by the Citi Foundation


First Place Winner Receives $15,000 to Start Home Health Care Agency for underserved residents of the Bronx and Manhattan

September 10, 2012— The New York Public Library (NYPL) and Citi today announced the winners of New York StartUP! 2012 Business Plan Competition, an annual competition managed by NYPL’s Science Industry and Business Library (SIBL) and generously funded by the Citi Foundation.  The top prize of $15,000 went to Dwayne Samuel, R.N., Esq. and Jason Funes, JD of the Bronx for their business plan to create Curatio HCS, a full-service home health care agency for New Yorkers. Curatio HCS plans to specialize in expert home infusion nursing services, medication therapy management, and nutritional support to home care clients including patients with diabetes

The business plan for Curatio HCS was selected as the first place winner over 38 other completed plans. Samuel and Funes received the award from Kristin McDonough, SIBL’s director, after she acknowledged all 10 finalists in the audience.

“StartUP! is an annual manifestation of SIBL‘s vital role at the center of a vibrant small business community,” McDonough said. “Our generous sponsor, the Citi Foundation, and dozens of private-public partners providing advisors, mentors, and judges complement the Library’s staff, resources, and  services to help aspiring entrepreneurs realize their dream of business ownership.”   

“Small businesses are the engines of neighborhood economies,” said Helen Steblecki, Citi Community Development Officer for Manhattan South and Staten Island.  “They create jobs, spur innovation and strengthen communities. Citi is proud to work with the New York Public Library to support local small businesses.”

Samuel and Funes were joined at Monday morning’s ceremony by 2010 second place winner Shagun Mahotra, CEO of the startup Skystem, and Denise Adusei, last year’s StartUP! Business Plan winner and founder of Harlem’s Peartree Preschool, which will open this October.

Bernice Mast and Richard J. Becker received the second-place award of $7,500 for their plan to create Wheatless and Meatless, a company that will provide a variety of delicious and quick gluten-free vegan burger mixes and meal starters.

The third-place award of $5,000 went to Rina Mansukhani and Christi Helsel for iEvoke, a plan to create a ground-breaking line of products that uses the powerful connection between scent and memory to allow users to bottle the precious moments in their lives.

Runners-up Jean-Pierre Adechi of Wheelie and Monica Sharma and Kim Nguyen from Runway Exchange, both web-based ventures, each received $1,500.

More than 600 applications were submitted to the 2012 New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition. As a requirement for consideration, entrants were required to attend an orientation, three out of four business planning workshops, and meet with expert business advisors in the course of writing their business plans. The workshops and business counseling sessions provided practical information about starting and growing a business and entrants made use of the extensive business collections and business information databases available at SIBL. The business plans were evaluated by a panel of judges representing local business development leaders from non profits and public agencies, venture capital firms and banks, and successful entrepreneurs.

Aspiring business owners can learn more about next year’s competition, New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition 2013, by visiting The first orientation session will be held on Saturday, October 13, 2012 at the BronxLibraryCenter.  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 plan to start a business in one of those boroughs.

About The Science, Industry, and Business Library
The Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL) is a premier public business library founded in 1996 with comprehensive print materials, e-resources, and services for start-ups and established businesses seeking expansion, and for job seekers from entry to executive levels. Library staff provide roving assistance and consultations, and advisory services are offered on-site by experienced business owners, career coaches, and a financial specialist.

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 AssetBuilding. 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