2023 marks the 20th anniversary of Brooklyn Public Library's PowerUP! Business Plan Competition. Check out our new commemorative webpage to read alumni success stories and get inspired by two decades of Brooklyn entrepreneurship.


We are celebrating 20 years of PowerUP! RSVP to the 2023 PowerUP! Awards Ceremony on November 16.

Since 2003, we have nurtured 10,575 individuals with over 1,350 business plans and awarded more than $600,000 in cash and in-kind gifts to Brooklyn entrepreneurs. Our success stories include more than 100 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.

Watch the 2021 pitch competition below, and watch the 2020 pitch competition online here.

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

In the spirit of the Library, we welcome all Brooklyn residents. Among our 2022 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!
  • The competition is administered through an online platform: https://powerup.smapply.io/ All prospective applicants must attend the orientation before applying. The orientation explains all the details of applying to and participating in the competition.
  • Participants must attend the orientation, 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 business research. The financial projections and business research classes are mandatory.
  • Participants are referred 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!

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