July 7, 2021
July 7, 2021 – Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner kicked off the City of Houston Liftoff Houston 2021 Startup Business Plan Competition (Liftoff Houston), sponsored by Capital One Bank and administered by the Public Library of Houston (HPL) and the Office of Business Opportunity (OBO).
Liftoff Houston aims to empower Houstonians to start their own businesses through a series of workshops and coaching sessions that take place from August through October. Winners in three categories – Service, Product and Innovation – will each receive $ 10,000 in seed capital from Capital One Bank. Applications are open from July 7 to Monday August 2.
“I am delighted to see what business ideas and concepts this year’s nominees bring to the table,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We are grateful to Capital One Bank for their commitment to helping Houstonians achieve their small business dreams. I encourage all budding entrepreneurs not to miss this wonderful opportunity which will help move our economy and our city forward. “
Since its inception, more than 12,623 Houstonians have participated in Liftoff Houston, and over $ 240,000 in prizes have been awarded by Capital One Bank.
Mayor Sylvester Turner, with Director of the Houston Public Library, Dr Rhea Lawson and Director of the Office of Business Opportunities, Marsha E. Murray, announce the launch of Liftoff Houston, which awards more than $ 30,000 in prizes to budding entrepreneurs.
“Start-ups play a vital role in the economic future of our city,” said Rhea Lawson, director of the Houston Public Library. “The Houston Public Library is pleased to support their development by providing access to free and vital reference resources for business and investment, market research, cutting-edge technological equipment with high-speed Wi-Fi and other valuable services such as faxing and copying. services and space for meetings and training. “
Topics covered during the competition include business plan basics, capital raising, marketing, and free business resource information from the City of Houston. Participants will also develop a business plan, which will be reviewed by mentors from Capital One Bank and SCORE Houston.
At the end of the competition, nine finalists will be selected to present their business plans to a panel of judges during Pitch Day, which is scheduled for Saturday, November 6. One winner and one fan favorite from each category will be selected.
To qualify as a candidate for Liftoff Houston, candidates must live and operate their business within the city limits of Houston. The business must be for-profit, in operation for less than one year, and have verifiable income not exceeding $ 10,000. Previous winners have included companies in retail, merchandise, labor, consulting, software, computer hardware, market businesses, hospitality, tourism, health and fitness. , education, finance, technology and logistics.
Those who do not qualify to participate in the competition, or those who do not wish to participate can also apply to participate in the Liftoff Houston Educational Pathway, which offers access to all of the business training opportunities provided by the program, but without the component. pitch. .
“Liftoff Houston will provide you with a wealth of knowledge and information on how to successfully start your business, and the Business Opportunities Office is also available to assist you,” said Marsha Murray, director of the Business Opportunities Office. “I encourage applicants to connect with us for a multitude of free resources in our ‘one-stop-shop’ business center where you can receive advice on business permits, licenses, individual business advice, assistance legal and much more. These services can certainly complement the apprenticeships offered by Liftoff Houston and help candidates in their entrepreneurial journey. “
Houston takeoff winners, left to right, Kiley Summers, Kimberly Jones, Jerome Vielman, Wendell Matthews and Jenna Zhang joined Mayor Turner for the press conference.
Notable Liftoff Houston alumni whose businesses have moved beyond the entrepreneurial stage include 2016 Fellows Lyndsey Brantley of Camellia Alise and Kiley Summers of SpenDebt, 2017 Fellow Megan Eddings of Accel Lifestyle and 2018 Fellow Jenna Zhang of Olympus Watches.
With the onset of COVID-19, all aspects of last year’s competition took place virtually for the first time, including Pitch Day. The 2020 winners – Kimberly Jones of Cosmetic Concierge Nurses, Jerome Vielman of Kairos Chemical and Wendell Matthews of Goat + Bear – have since used their awards to help cover marketing and operating costs to build resilient businesses that can thrive. after the pandemic.
In 2021, Liftoff Houston will be offered in a hybrid format, with all workshops and mentoring sessions presented virtually, and with in-person components for Pitch Day.
For more information on Liftoff Houston, visit www.liftoffhouston.com or email [email protected] Also follow @LiftoffHouston on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.
This press release was produced by the City of Houston. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.