June 22, 2005


Brooklyn, NY, June 20, 2005 — Sydney Wayman, a Brooklyn entrepreneur planning to open Syd's Serious Sandwich Shop in Crown Heights, was named the first place winner in the 2nd Annual Power UP! Business Plan Competition presented by BPL's Business Library and sponsored by Citigroup.

"Entrepreneur Sydney Wayman will provide an array of sandwiches, particularly the authentic Philadelphia steak sandwiches and hoagies, and will distinguish his shop as the tastiest in Crown Heights," said Ginnie Cooper, Executive Director of BPL, who announced the top winners at the Business Library’s June 11 Entrepreneur EXPO.

"It's really an honor to be recognized," said Mr. Wayman. "I'd like to congratulate all the people who submitted business plans."

Mr. Wayman, who describes himself as a capitalist with a conscience, said he began using the Business Library nearly 20 years ago when he was starting his first business and asked the library staff for information about government contracts.

"Information is power," Mr. Wayman said. "I learned where to find the power in 1987 when I left corporate America. The Brooklyn Business Library has empowered me by providing the resources I need. It's incredible."

As the top winner in the competition, Mr. Wayman will receive $15,000 and an in-kind package of services worth $9,500.

More than 280 individuals participated in the 2004-2005 Power UP! Business Plan Competition. To help participants refine their ideas and write their business plans, the Business Library offered them free classes on creating business plans, marketing, budgetary principles, and using resources available at the Business Library and on its website. Of the pool of applicants, 67 submitted business plans that were reviewed by a panel of judges.

"The library is here to help people with what they need," Ginnie Cooper said. "In this competition, the Business Library helped the participants realize their dreams. Everyone who participated is a winner."

Ginnie Cooper announced the two runner-ups, whose businesses will receive a cash prize of $5,000 plus an in-kind package of services worth $5,000, Sharon Silbermann, who seeks to start s.e.w.n., a plus-size apparel company in Park Slope, and Sara Nahas and Kallan Kagan, who plan to open Lonelyville, a small, 40’s era, living room-style coffeehouse in Windsor Terrace.

Ginnie Cooper recognized the major contributions of Citigroup, who provided the prize money for the competition, and Kathleen Parisi, National Business Development Officer for Citibank, who conceived of the business plan competition after September 11 when many New Yorkers were losing their jobs, and nurtured the Business Library’s last two business plan competitions.

"Small businesses play a key role in driving a community's economy by providing needed products and services, as well as helping to create jobs," said Charles V. Raymond, President of the Citigroup Foundation. "Citigroup is pleased to strengthen its commitment to help make communities where it does business better places to live and work by once again supporting the BPL's Power UP! competition. We wish all of the 2005 winners and all those who participated in the competition much success in their business endeavors."

Ms. Parisi announced the Merit Awards, which were given to Marlene Reed, who plans to open Brooklyn Bedded, a youth hostel type of inn for young travelers and tourists; Joseph Gordon and Paula Lee Poy, who plan to open Sweetstalk, a specialty baking company for people with special dietary needs and/or restrictions; and Andrew Pearson and Diego Argibay, who plan to open Iberian Art, a company that will create upscale imported house wares and jewelry. Each business will receive a cash prize of $500.

Ms. Parisi also announced the Honorable Mention Awards, which were given to Stephen Carl, who plans to open Sweet Brooklyn, a gourmet chocolate business; Sophia Latto, who plans to open a business designing and manufacturing hair accessories; and Hannah Palmer, who plans to open a seafood café. Honorable Mention winners will receive a cash prize of $250.

Winners of the 2002-2003 Power UP! Business Plan Competition, Farid Ali and George Constantinou, who leveraged their prize money and will soon open Brooklyn's Bogota Café Bistro on 5th Avenue in Park Slope, gave words of encouragement to the entrepreneurs attending the event, advised them not to be afraid to ask for help, and suggested that they visit the Business Library, either on-site or online.

"We'd like to thank the Business Library for having last year's competition because that validated our idea," said Mr. Constantinou, who also served as a judge for this year's competition. "We're now two or three weeks away from opening."

After thanking the Business Library and all the other small business organizations that helped the entrepreneurs Mr. Ali said, "This restaurant is as much your baby as it is mine. Winning the Business Plan Competition gave us so much confidence when we started knocking on doors."

Greg Atkins, chief of staff for Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, congratulated the Business Library and the participants for their Brooklyn spirit, which has been instrumental in bringing about Brooklyn's renaissance, and presented Ms. Ginnie Cooper with a proclamation from the Borough President's Office declaring June 11 Power UP! Your Business Starts Here Day in Brooklyn, USA.

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