Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

The New York Public Library Announces Winners of New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition 2013, Sponsored by the Citi Foundation


First Place Winner Receives $15,000 to Develop Innovative Shoe for the Physically-Challenged

September 16– The New York Public Library (NYPL) and Citi today announced the winners of New York StartUP! 2013 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 Steven Kaufman of Manhattan for his business plan to create Quikiks, a new innovation in footwear that provide hands-free operation for people lacking the dexterity or physical ability to use traditional shoe fasteners such as laces, buckles, Velcro straps or snaps.

Kaufman was inspired to create Quikiks by his son, who was having difficulty putting on his shoes due to scoliosis. The business plan for Quikiks was selected as the first place winner over 48 other completed plans. Kaufman received the award from Kristin McDonough, SIBL’s director, after she acknowledged all 10 finalists in the audience.

“Today’s finalists join SIBL’s vibrant community of small businessmen and women,” said Kristin McDonough, Director of SIBL. “We are grateful to our generous sponsor the Citi Foundationand to SIBL's invaluable partners, those advisors, mentors, and experts who make this success possible.”

“Supporting entrepreneurship is central to Citi Community Development’s work to expand access to economic opportunity,” said Eileen Auld, Tri-State Director of Community Development for Citi. “We are proud to partner with the New York Public Library in this effort to give entrepreneurial hopefuls the opportunity to bolster their business skills.”

Kaufman was joined at Monday morning’s ceremony by 2012 StartUP! winner Dwayne Samuel, R.N., Esq., founder of Curatio HCS and 2012 StartUP! finalist and winner of the Black Enterprise National Pitch Competition Precious Williams, founder of Curvy Girlz Lingerie.

Michael Frankel received the second-place award of $7,500 for his plan to createHULEDET (, a website that celebrates the user’s birthday by emailing free gifts from local and national companies.

The third-place award of $5,000 went to Deborah Walker and Larry Liu forPomegranate Lab, an emerging company founded by a team of teachers creating digital tools to use in classrooms.

Christie MacKinnon of Kicky’s Kitchen Inc. - which creates signature cake-making kits - and Caryn Neary of Popshops, a multi-channel shopping retailer for new and innovative wholesale brands, each received $1,500.

Hundreds of applications were submitted to the 2013 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 2014, by visiting The first orientation session will be held on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at the Bronx Library Center.  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 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