The Business Library of the Brooklyn Public Library just announced the winners of their fifth annual PowerUP! Business Plan Competition. Top prizes went to a Brooklyn fudge maker, a local evening-wear creator, and a neighborhood retail shop selling earth-friendly products. Other prizes were also awarded amongst the 75 plans submitted.

Now, this is the kind of business plan competition we need more of, and to see and hear more about! Local public agencies supporting local entrepreneurs starting local businesses!

Today, Tim Berry’s Planning Startups Stories blog mentions some of the more prestigious business plan competitions: Notre Dame University and New Venture Competition. They offer big prizes, have teams of five MBA students, pitch plans for companies with global reach who are seeking a half-million dollars or more in investment financing.

In contrast, I look out the office window and view three blocks of our street. I see an auto repair shop, a dentist, a mini-mart, a doctor, an aquarium store, two small restaurants, a credit union, a coffee kiosk, a lawyer, a women’s clothing resale shop, a specialty beer emporium, and of course, us, a software developer.

This is small business in America. This is the business that keeps our lives organized every day and our economy moving. So where are the business plan competitions for the local teams of one and two entrepreneurs, who sell us our shoes, fix our cars, and feed us our rushed business day lunches?

I say three cheers for the Brooklyn Library and their PowerUP! Business Plan Competition for showing us how it can be done.

PowerUP! celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of Brooklyn, enhances the vitality of the local business community and rewards the ingenuity and determination of ALL participants!

If you are 18 years of age or older, live in Brooklyn, are a legal resident or US citizen, and wish to start a business in Brooklyn, you are eligible. “PowerUP!” is a competition to help applicants start a business.

Three winners will receive cash awards for entering the best business plan to start a business in Brooklyn. Cash prizes of $15,000 for first place and $5,000 for two runners-up will be awarded.

Hopefully, more communities and public agencies will follow their lead and support the local entrepreneurs we depend on.

Steve Lange
Senior Editor
Palo Alto Software