Liftoff Houston! Business Plan Competition 2013

May. 7, 2013City of Houston

Liftoff Houston!, the City of Houston’s first business plan competition, was announced in the mayor’s State of the City. This entrepreneurial initiative aims to encourage Houston residents to achieve their goals of business ownership while contributing to the local growth and sustainability of the Houston economy.

To be eligible for Liftoff Houston!, a business must be in the start-up phase. Start-up phase is defined as a business less than a year old or with revenue less than $10,000 since operations began; therefore a business that began operations before April 26, 2012 or received revenue of more than $10,000 is not eligible. Capital One Bank is providing cash prizes totaling $30,000, including a $15,000 grand prize, to the winning business submissions.

The competition will take place in four stages – orientation, workshop, mentoring, and presentation, over a 6 – 8 month period. Applicants will participate in workshops ranging from business plan basics to presenting capital requests to financial institutions, as well as information sessions on essential City of Houston business resources available through the Houston Public Library (HPL) and the City’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO.) The goal is to enable individuals to successfully research and develop their business plan.  Applicants will also receive additional support from professional business coaches/mentors from SCORE Houston and personal financial advisors to further refine the business plan for submission and presentation.

A mandatory orientation will be offered to provide interested individuals with detailed information about the competition and the process to compete. Multiple sessions of the orientation will be offered at designated Houston Public Library locations citywide.

WHEN?
Key dates of the competition are as follows:

Registration for Orientation Session: April 26, 2013 – May 30, 2013
Orientation*: May 18, 2013 – May 30, 2013
(Applicants cannot submit an application without having attended the Orientation)
Application Due: June 7, 2013
Workshops*: June 12, 2013 – August 24, 2013
Mentor Consults: September 9, 2013- October 9, 2013
Business Plan Due: October 25, 2013
Presentations: November 8, 2013
Award Ceremony: December 6, 2013

* The mandatory orientation will be offered at Central, Park Place Regional, Scenic Woods Regional, Robinson Westchase, Shepard Acres Homes libraries.

The competition is a collaborative effort between HPL, OBO and Capital One Bank, and is designed to engage and empower Houstonians seeking to start a business using the robust resources of the City of Houston.  The path to launching your business starts with Liftoff Houston!

WHERE?
The competition will be held at designated Houston Public Library locations.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
To be eligible, applicants must be in the start-up phase of their business and only in operation for less than one year or with revenue of less than $10,000, must live in Houston and plan to open their business in Houston.

HOW DO I GET STARTED?
To apply to enter in the Liftoff Houston Business Plan Competition you must first:

  1. Create an account.
  2. Attend one required orientation.

There will be a total of 5 orientations held at different locations throughout Houston.

ORIENTATIONS

All applicants are required to attend one orientation where details about applying will be supplied. There will be a total of five orientations held at different Houston Public Library locations throughout Houston. Orientation locations and dates are as follows:

May 18, 2013 10:30AM-12:30PM
Central Library
500 McKinney St
Houston, Texas 77002

May 21, 2013 11:30AM-1:30PM
Scenic Woods Library
110677 homestead Rd
Houston, Texas 77016

May 23, 2013 5:30PM-7:30PM
Park Place Library
8245 Park Blvd
Houston, Texas 77017

May 28, 2013 11:30AM-1:30PM
Shepard-Acres Homes Library
8501 W. Montgomery
Houston, Texas 77088

May 30, 2013 5:30PM-7:30PM
Robinson Westchase Library
3223 Wilcrest Dr
Houston, Texas 77042

CONTACT

Houston Business Solutions Center
611 Walker St, Lobby
Houston, TX 77002
Telephone: 832.393.0954
liftoffhouston@houstontx.gov