July 12, 2023 -- Applications are now open for the Liftoff Houston Startup Business Plan Competition, the City of Houston’s groundbreaking contest which culminates with three winners each receiving $10,000 in seed money to fund their dreams of entrepreneurship. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 4.
The competition, which celebrates its 11th anniversary this year, is sponsored by Capital One Bank and administered by the Houston Public Library (HPL) and the Office of Business Opportunity (OBO). Since its inception, Capital One has invested more than $310,000 in startup funding to winners in three categories – Innovation, Product and Service.
“For 11 years, Liftoff Houston has empowered participants to achieve financial mobility through entrepreneurship,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “These participants have become key drivers to the success of Houston’s economy, and they have contributed to our communities by creating jobs and by providing much needed goods and services.”
To be eligible for the competition, applicants must live in, and operate their businesses within, the city limits of Houston. The business should be for-profit, in operation for less than one year, and have verifiable revenue that does not exceed $10,000. Those who are not eligible to compete can still participate in the Educational Pathway only track, which allows access to all educational and mentorship components of the program.
Upon acceptance into Liftoff Houston, participants attend workshops over a four-month period that cover essential business topics including business planning, marketing, financing and pitching. Participants also receive additional support by professional mentors from SCORE Houston and Capital One Bank to further refine their business plans, which are required to advance to the final round of the competition. The program concludes on Pitch Day on Nov. 18, where three businesses in each contest category are selected to present their business plan to a panel of judges. All who fulfill requirements of the Educational Pathway track receive a certificate of completion.
“This year’s competition will prove to be another exciting year of opportunity for Houstonians who are ready to move their plans of business ownership forward,” said Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, director of the Houston Public Library. “We are pleased to join OBO, Capital One and a host of other partners in supporting their development and dreams through the provision of free library services and access to business and investment reference resources, state of the art technology, and high-speed Wi-Fi.”
Competition winners have started businesses in retail, merchandise, labor, consulting, software, hardware, market businesses, hospitality, tourism, health and fitness, education, finance, technology, and logistics.
“In our 11th year of Liftoff Houston, we look forward to making an even greater impact on the lives of Houston’s aspiring entrepreneurs,” said OBO Director Marsha Murray. “This competition will provide you with a clear roadmap to help you achieve your goals of succeeding as a small business owner.”
To apply for Liftoff Houston, go to www.liftoff-houston.com and follow @liftoffhouston on Facebook and Instagram.