The city of Houston launched Liftoff Houston on Wednesday, a yearly business plan competition that gives small business owners the chance to win $10,000. The City of Houston, along with the Houston Public Library and Capitol One Bank, will award a total of $30,000 to three small business owners in Houston.
This will be the 11th year the competition has been held, and the city said they have seen great success with the program.
"Over the years this program has been extremely impactful in empowering aspiring entrepreneurs through business literacy, education, and mentorship," said Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Along with the cash prize, the program provides entrepreneurs the opportunity to attend virtual workshops centered around business plan basics, and sessions on the City of Houston's business resources. Mentorship opportunities from SCORE Houston, a business mentorship organization, and Capitol One Bank are provided as well.
Participants can enter in three categories: product, service and innovation. Product based businesses deal with retail, resale, and merchandise. Service based businesses deal with food, labor, and consulting. Innovation based businesses deal with software, hardware, inventions, and new market businesses.
Applications open Wednesday and are available to any business owners who have a business idea, have had an operating business for less than one year with a revenue of less than $10,000, and are located within Houston City limits.
Even if a business does not apply to the criteria, business owners are still encouraged to enroll in the Liftoff Houston Educational Pathway. There, owners can get access to the workshops and mentoring sessions.