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Win $20,000 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 our biggest cash prize ever to help fund your dream.  Click here to begin the application process for PowerUP! 2021! The deadline is extended to May 7.

View the 2020 pitch competition submissions below:

Thank you to all who attended the PowerUP! 17th Annual Awards Ceremony. $40,000 in seed capital was awarded to 8 finalists and an additional $1000 went to the audience favorite in the Audience Choice Pitch Competition. We appreciate your support of these exciting new Brooklyn businesses! 

Since 2003, we have nurtured 8,750 individuals with over 1,150 business plans and awarded more than $450,000 to Brooklyn entrepreneurs. Our success stories include more than 80 companies with passion for food and drink, health and wellness, arts and crafts, media and fashion, education, social justice, 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. Among our 2020 participants, 25% are immigrants/foreign born, 72% are women, and 72% have never owned a business.


  • Winners will receive cash awards as seed capital to start a business in Brooklyn. Cash prizes of $20,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place, $5,000 for third place, and $1,000 for five merit winners will be awarded. Also, during the awards ceremony,one of the merit winners will be chosen by the audience to receive an additional $1,000!
  • All prospective applicants must view the online orientation before applying. The orientation explains all the details of applying to and participating in the competition.
  • Participants must view the orientation presentation, get a Brooklyn Public Library Card, meet with a business advisor, and attend a minimum of 3 PowerUP! webinar classes.
  • Participants attend Zoom webinar classes 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
  • We no longer offer the PowerUP! KREYòL competition. Language support will be provided for those who speak Kreyòl and want to enter PowerUP!

PowerUp Sponsors

BPL’s Business & Career Center is generously supported by Dime Community Bank, Lead Funder of the PowerUP! Business Plan Competition, Dr. Beverly S. Jacobs, Ridgewood Savings Bank, Con Edison, Reference Solutions, Elizabeth Crowell & Robert Wilson and Signature Bank.

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