Earlier this month, Brooklyn Public Library and Citi Foundation announced the winners of the 9th Annual PowerUP! Competition. Nidhi Jalan took home the grand prize of $15,000, which she will use to kickstart her wholesale Indian spice kit business, Masala Mama. Through personal experience, Nidhi knew that preparing Indian spices is a demanding task, which limits the number of people would can cook traditional Indian dishes at home. Kits correspond to dishes, such as Chicken Tikka Masala, and each includes not only the appropriate spices but also the recipe and an ingredient shopping list. Talk about making the experience of cooking delicious Indian dishes at home easy and enjoyable! We can’t wait until to start seeing the kits show up at super markets.
PowerUP! participants attend classes at the Library on creating business plans, marketing, financial projections, and doing research with Library resources. Lifting a business off the ground takes efforts of all kinds and so, in addition to the classes and a potential financial boost, the participants are also connected to business counselors in the community. Preparedness makes a big difference, and it was ultimately Nidhi’s exemplary business plan that impressed the judges, leading them to select her from 81 total participants. Nidhi has big plans for her business and hopes to see her spice kits in stores across the country. In the meantime, getting the word out about the kits is tricky since there’s no Masala Mama storefront (Nidhi sells wholesale from her spice studio in Crown Heights). Because of this, Nidhi plans to use the $15,000 primarily for marketing. Check out her new site! http://masalamamaspice.com/
Since the competition started, Brooklyn Public Library’s PowerUP! program has helped to launch more than 42 local small businesses, infusing the community with over $250,000 in seed capital as well as creating hundreds of jobs. Some of the past winners that you might be familiar with include Bogota Latin Bistro, Greenlight Bookstore, Green in BKLYN and Owl & Thistle General Store. If you’d like to enter next year’s competition, review the below link and start sprucing up your business plan. You’re eligible if you live in and want to start a business in Brooklyn!