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QEDC’s StartUP! Contest Winners


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QEDC Grant WinnersA clothing designer, a health food maker, and a tech specialist won this year’s StartUP! Business Plan Competition, an eight-month challenge-and-instruction course administered by the Queens Economic Development Corporation and Queens Library. And thanks to funding from Resorts World Casino New York City, each entrepreneur received $10,000 to jump start his/her new company.

Rebecca Deutsch of Impact Fashion took top honors in the “Community” category. Her personally designed dresses adhere to Orthodox Judaism’s modesty requirements, and she donates 10 percent of profits to charities that serve her religious community. The Kew Garden Hills resident is a graduate of Queens College/Macaulay Honors Program.

The “Food” category award went to Movitzsa Simmons of Smooth Pops, which manufactures all-natural frozen treats blended with fruit pulp. This Long Island City mother opened the business because she didn’t want to feed her toddler artificial, chemical-laden treats. She hopes to add other healthy foods to her product line soon.

Jamaica resident Victor Hunt, who is currently studying at Yale University in Connecticut, won the “Innovation” category with partners Aaron and Ethan Resnick. They founded Paragon Real Estate Technologies, which improves efficiency at residential and commercial properties by allowing building managers to get bids from qualified contractors and allowing these managers to post needed repairs online.

During this 12th annual StartUP! program, more than 350 participants received technical assistance and training on such topics as operations, marketing, and financial statements, while also enjoying access to entrepreneurial resources at Queens Library. In total, 42 teams submitted business plans to selected QEDC judges, who determined the victors in the pre-determined “Community,” “Food,” and “Innovation” categories.

Source: Queens Gazette