2013-05-22 / Features

QEDC, Citi Announce StartUP! Business Plan Winners


Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) and Citi Foundation announced the winners of this year’s StartUP! competition during Queens Taste 2013 at Citi Field’s Caesars Club on May 14. (L. to r.); Bridget Quinn-Carey, COO of the Queens Library; Steve Hofstetter, the night’s MC and co-owner of the Laughing Devil Comedy Club in LIC; Dennis Lee from Astoria Coffee; QEDC client Francine Fogarty; Eileen Auld, NY Tri State Region director, Citi Community Development; Maya Camou from M3D Consulting; Candice Woods from Fabulous Fitness; QEDC Board President Gail A. Roseman; and QEDC Executive Director Seth Bornstein. 
Photo Dominick Totino Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) and Citi Foundation announced the winners of this year’s StartUP! competition during Queens Taste 2013 at Citi Field’s Caesars Club on May 14. (L. to r.); Bridget Quinn-Carey, COO of the Queens Library; Steve Hofstetter, the night’s MC and co-owner of the Laughing Devil Comedy Club in LIC; Dennis Lee from Astoria Coffee; QEDC client Francine Fogarty; Eileen Auld, NY Tri State Region director, Citi Community Development; Maya Camou from M3D Consulting; Candice Woods from Fabulous Fitness; QEDC Board President Gail A. Roseman; and QEDC Executive Director Seth Bornstein. Photo Dominick Totino The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) and the Citi Foundation on May 14 announced the three winners of the seventh annual Queens StartUP! Business Plan Competition, a five-month challenge-andinstruction course. Each winner will get $10,000 to jumpstart their new businesses.

Candice Woods and her health center, Fabulous Fitness NYC, took first place in the “Community Business” category. Based in Springfield Gardens where there are precious few exercise outlets, Fabulous Fitness provides a venue and quality instructors who lead programs in such disciplines as yoga, Zumba, total body workout, cardio and aerobics.

The “Food-Based Business” honors went to Dennis Lee and Astoria Coffee. Lee is about to open a java shop featuring coffee beans from Café Brioso, an artisan roaster in Columbus, Ohio, and premium loose-leaf teas. The café will be a real community facility, Lee hopes, with poetry readings, live music, an art gallery and no WiFi restrictions.

Flushing’s Maya Camou and her environmental sustainability and management consulting firm M3D Consulting prevailed in the “Innovative Business” category. A LEED AP plus certified master instructor who is also a continuing education faculty member at New York Institute of Technology, Camou and her company provide big-picture guidance on “green” business operations and project management. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Certification is a standard by which buildings are rated. This is a system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Over the course of this year’s StartUP!, more than 300 participants received technical assistance and training on topics such as pricing, marketing and tax filing while also enjoying access to entrepreneurial resources at the Queens Central Library in Jamaica. Then, a total of 28 teams submitted business plans to the Citi judges.

“Citi is once again pleased to support the seventh annual StartUp! competition with a $50,000 grant from the Citi Foundation,” said Eileen Auld, New York Tri State Region director, Citi Community Development. “The Citi Foundation supports several competitions throughout New York City to encourage innovation among entrepreneurs and create jobs in communities where they are needed most.”

“Queens Library is a valuable resource for new and expanding businesses during the competition, and all year long. Congratulations to every one of the participants, you are all winners,” said Thomas W. Galante, CEO and president, Queens Library.

“StartUP! gets better and better each year, and it’s really hard to choose only three winners,” added QEDC Executive Director Seth Bornstein. “Congratulations to all this year’s participants, and we wish them the best of luck as they pursue their business dreams.”

Previous StartUP! winners include Borough Excursions, a Flushing-based tour company that takes patrons to the outer boroughs, where they explore New York City’s hidden gems; and Better Speech Now, an educational startup which provides accent-reduction services.

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