Win $15,000 to start your own business in Brooklyn! Enter our annual PowerUP! competition to gain valuable financial and marketing skills, learn from local business mentors, and compete for up to $15,000 to help fund your dream.

Registration for the 2017 PowerUP! Business Plan Competition is now closed. Check back in January for information on the 2018 competition.

Since 2003, we have nurtured 7,200 individuals with 930 business plans and awarded $340,000 to Brooklyn entrepreneurs. Our success stories include more than 75 companies with passion for food and drink, health and wellness, arts and crafts, media and fashion, education, social justice, economic empowerment, and cultural diversity –everything that makes Brooklyn great.

Some early winners, like Bogota Latin Bistro and Greenlight Bookstore, have become local institutions, while recent winners hope to be the next generation of Brooklyn destinations.

In the spirit of the Library, we welcome all Brooklyn residents, whatever your background or experience. Among our 2016 participants, 27% are immigrants/foreign born, 67% are women, and 80% have never owned a business.

We also host PowerUP! KREYOL, a separate competition for Creole speakers with classes and meetings with business counselors conducted in Haitian Creole.

FAQs

  • Entrants must be 18 years of age or older, live in Brooklyn and plan to start a business in Brooklyn.
  • Eight winners will receive cash awards as seed capital to start a business in Brooklyn. Cash prizes of $15,000 for first place, $5,000 for two runners-up, and $1,000 for five merit winners will be awarded.
  • All prospective applicants must attend one orientation before applying. The orientation explains all the details of applying to and participating in the competition. Orientation dates are posted in December. Applications are accepted beginning in February and ending in April.
  • Participants must attend an orientation, get a Brooklyn Public Library Card, see a business advisor, and attend a minimum of 3 PowerUP! classes.
  • Participants attend classes at the Library on creating business plans, marketing, financial projections, and doing market research. The financial projections class is mandatory.
  • Participants are connected to organizations in the community who offer free business counseling.
  • Business plans must follow the format and guidelines provided by the competition. Previously written plans must be revised to comply with the competition guidelines.

A well-researched plan that follows the guidelines and clearly shows:

  • A need and use for the financial award
  • How your business will provide needed products or services to the community
  • How your business will be viable and successful