TerrartNYC Wins Top Prize of $20,000 at Brooklyn Public Library’s PowerUP! Business Competition Ceremony

Landscaping Company Creates Self-Sustaining Terrariums

In Total $40,000 Awarded to Brooklyn Entrepreneurs Including Lali Honey Wine and Cee Bak, Safety Accessories for Urban Board Bicycle and Scooter Riders

Brooklyn, NY—Brooklyn Public Library’s 18th annual PowerUP! business plan competition awarded $40,000 to aspiring entrepreneurs at a virtual pitch competition and awards ceremony last night hosted by Joe Connolly, business anchor for WCBS NewsRadio 880. Dime Community Bank presented the $20,000 grand prize to Charly Uzcatequi, Timothy Chu and Henger Ydrogo for TerrartNYC a landscaping company dedicated to making self-sustaining terrariums in New York City.

A judging panel of business owners, nonprofit leaders and academics selected TerrartNYC from a field of over 350 entries, most of whom had no previous business experience.

"PowerUP! celebrates Brooklyn's long legacy of creative and determined entrepreneurship," said Linda E. Johnson President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. "Our Business & Career librarians and partners at DIME Bank ensure that the next generation of local business owners have the skills and funding they need to pursue their dreams and strengthen their communities. In the months and years to come, we'll be rooting for all the winners, many of whom are first-time business owners."

Second place and a prize of $10,000 was awarded to Jeffrey Jacque the founder of CeeBak a new safety device which helps keep cyclists, board and scooter riders prevent accidents. Third place and a prize of $5000 was awarded to Lali Honey Wine founded by Samra Ghermay, Naz Habtezgh, Selam Negatu and Aden Fisseha.

Five participants were recognized with merit awards and $1000 of seed money. The merit winners pitched their ideas to the live audience on Zoom who voted for their favorite. The winner was Danielle Chery for DMC Original Art. Chery got an additional $1000 for winning the audience favorite award.

The other merit winners were: Temika Walker for B4 UR SKN, a vegan, plant-based skincare brand; Alice Forbes Spear and Jenny Kim-Jacobson for Open Care Acupuncture providing low-cost acupuncture and herbal medicine to all New Yorkers via a sliding-scale; Lerone Savage for Soon Forward, an e-commerce shipping platform for local exporters transporting goods to the Caribbean; and Daniel Sheehan and Matthew Sloan for AutoCEQR, a software platform automating the generation of standard analyses, data, and maps required by the New York City Environmental Quality Review for environmental planning consulting firms and land use attorneys.

“Dime is once again proud and honored to be the leading sponsor for the Brooklyn Public Library’s PowerUP! Program this year. As the lead sponsor, we enjoy participating in the program, and watching the new entrepreneurs here in Brooklyn looking to make their big break. This program highlights the spirit of Brooklyn, and our great state. And, as a keystone of the community and financial partner to all sizes of businesses here in Brooklyn for over 100 years, we are excited to watch this next wave of entrepreneurs take flight and create success that others can follow,” said Kevin O’Connor Chief Executive Officer Dime Community Bank. “Thank you again for allowing Dime to participate and lead the group of sponsors again this year.”

PowerUP! first began in 2003, to provide businesses a helping hand after 9/11. Since then, the PowerUP! contest has provided $440,000 to nearly 200 entrepreneurs across the borough. Many successful Brooklyn businesses launched with help from PowerUP! including Bogota Latin Bistro, Island Pops, Green in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Tea, Tinsel Experiential Design, DogSpot and Greenlight Bookstore. 

All participants attended classes on subjects like marketing, business finance and the utilization of library resources. They also received one-on-one business plan assistance from successful entrepreneurs and business experts.

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.

To learn more about the competition, you can view a short video here.

About Brooklyn Public Library 
Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems and among New York City’s most democratic institutions. As a leader in developing modern 21st century libraries, we provide resources to support personal advancement, foster civic literacy, and strengthen the fabric of community among the more than 2.7 million individuals who call Brooklyn home. We provide nearly 60,000 free programs a year with writers, thinkers, artists, and educators—from around the corner and around the world. And we give patrons millions of opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the joy of a good book.