Brooklyn Boro

Brooklyn Public Library launches annual PowerUP! Business Plan Competition

May 9, 2018 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
2017 PowerUP! award winner Jared Maldonado, founder of Catch-A-Ride, a bus service that opens this month connecting Brooklyn and the Bronx with northeast cities including Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Photo by Gregg Richards

The Brooklyn Public Library’s 15th annual PowerUP! Business Plan Competition will allow entrepreneurs to compete for $41,000, the highest cash prize total ever awarded in the competition. And this year’s top winner will receive $20,000 for their entrepreneurial skills.

Since its inception in 2003, the competition has nurtured over 7,900 entrepreneurs and awarded $360,000 in seed money.

Some of Brooklyn’s most renowned businesses—including Greenlight Bookstore, Tinsel Experiential Design, Island Pops, Brooklyn Sandbox, Shipwrecked Miniature Golf, Argyle Yarn Shop, Green in BKLYN and Human Root—got their start in the competition.

“PowerUP! has launched some of the borough’s most successful shops, restaurants and businesses and we are excited to welcome a new group of entrepreneurs to the Library to develop their ideas,” said Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda Johnson.

This year, the Brooklyn Public Library has partnered with Dime Community Bank as lead sponsor.

“Small business owners must be able to count on the financial support of the community banks in their neighborhoods,” said Kenneth J. Mahon, Dime president and chief executive officer.

The competition gets under way this spring with orientation sessions for aspiring Brooklyn entrepreneurs. This year’s participants will hone their business plans through the summer and fall months by meeting with business advisors and taking classes in finance and marketing.

Members of the business, academic and nonprofit communities will judge the plans and announce the winners at a ceremony on December 10.

In addition—new this year—audience members will vote for their favorite among the honorable mentions. The winner of the vote will receive $1,000.