BPL Awards $25,000 to Entrepreneurs
Local Brooklyn entrepreneurs Elizabeth Bishop and Rebecca Parker received the top prize of $15,000 Tuesday at the Brooklyn Public Library’s (BPL’s) eighth annual PowerUP! Small Business Plan Competition, a program that celebrates and rewards the entrepreneurial spirit and enhances the vitality of the local business community.
During the ceremony at the library’s Dweck Center, the pair also received over $5,000 in business assistance services for their firm, Brooklyn Open Acupuncture, which opened in Downtown Brooklyn in September. It is an alternative acupuncture clinic that offers affordable, individual treatment in small groups with a sliding pay scale.
Second-place winners Omar Forrester of Gotham City Motor Sports, a soon-to-be retail outlet offering automotive parts and accessories in East New York, and Jaclyn Carter of Love Jac, a greeting card company that offers creative cards and customized stationery in Fort Greene, each won $5,000 for their business plans.
This year, 109 Brooklyn participants submitted business plans in the Citi Foundation-sponsored competition and 13 were selected as finalists.
“Small business owners can provide a steady source of income for their families, and jobs and economic activity for their communities, while realizing their entrepreneurial dreams,” said Eileen Auld, Citi’s regional director for community development. “Citi is committed to empowering entrepreneurs.”
Said Maud Andrew, a programs and outreach specialist at the libray, “By offering a cash incentive, it encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to use the library to do research, get advice and plan carefully. There are businesses throughout Brooklyn that participated before they opened, and even if they didn’t win the top prize, they benefited from the experience.”
Merit award winners ($750 each) included Esther and David Betten, the Argyle Yarn Shop; Bianca Piccillo and Mark Usewicz, Mermaid’s Garden restaurant; and Sonjie Feliciano Solomon, Hatch Things Inc.
Honorable mentions ($500 each) included Kari Browne, Lark Café; Chris Schneider and Ryan Powers, Shipwrecked miniature golf park; and Laura Carroll and Dynishal Gross, City ’Lasses.
Other finalists included Keri Cavanaugh, Owl and Thistle General Store; Kayoko Suzuki-Lange and Poul Lang, Poyoko Studios ; Wayne Surber and Tracie Lee, Lonestar Taco; and Liz Tortoloni, The Well Bathhouse.
Those interested in competing in PowerUP! next year may visit www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org.
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