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April 26, 2013

State of the City: Strong and Getting Stronger
(See below for details about two new city programs)

I love this city. I still love going to work every day and I love the future we are creating for Houston. In our 3.5 years together we have gone from fighting a severe recession---with necessary cut backs and layoffs ---to restoring services. Today we're the job producing capital of America--- the place more people are moving to than anywhere else in the nation.

I love having others recognize how great our city is. But it's not going to be enough until every Houston family's life is better---from the roads we drive on, to the jobs we work, to the neighborhoods we live in, to the schools we attend and the parks where our children play. The best city can and will get better. That's been my goal as Mayor: to improve our role as a great global city of business...while also focusing on making Houston a great place to raise a family and a great place to live.

We're a city of change and innovation, a city of opportunity, a city that's growing better for all of us who live here. We still have much to do, but we're making terrific progress. The state of our city is strong. The state of our future is unlimited.


Annise D. Parker Mayor

The entire text of Mayor Parker's prepared 2013 State of the City address is available at There may be slight differences between the written text and the speech as she delivered it.


Tweet My Jobs, Houston
Online Jobs Platform to Help Houstonians Find Work

Tweet My Jobs, Houston is a new citywide online jobs platform to help Houstonians find work using innovative technology to combine the popularity of social media and the convenience of a smart phone application. This free service, announced in the mayor's State of the City, already has more than 150,000 Houston job postings from entry level to senior level corporate positions.

Tweet My Jobs, Houston is available at or in the application store for your mobile device. Just push a button to find jobs or to post a job listing to every corner of the digital landscape. The unique integration with Twitter and Facebook allows job seekers to receive job notifications via text message, email or through social media. It's also possible to see if Facebook friends are connected with the hiring company.

The online platform will allow the city to track the number of residents pursuing job opportunities, the type of positions being sought, the level of position and the industries in which job seekers want to work. It will also be able to show the number of jobs employers are posting over time as well as the type, industry and location of available opportunities.

Tweet My Jobs, Houston is being funded through a $350,000 grant from the Houston Housing Finance Corporation. It will be administered by the City's Office of Business Opportunity (OBO.) For more information about OBO and its suite of services, visit or call 832.393.0954.


Liftoff Houston! Business Plan Competition 2013
Orientations begin May 18, 2013, Register now!

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.

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!

For more information visit, email or call 832.393.0954.


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Council Members: Helena Brown • Jerry Davis • Ellen R. Cohen • Wanda Adams • Mike Sullivan • Al Hoang • Oliver Pennington • Edward Gonzalez • James G. Rodriguez • Mike Laster • Larry V. Green • Stephen C. Costello • Andrew C. Burks, Jr. • Melissa Noriega • C.O. “Brad” Bradford • Jack Christie
Controller: Ronald C. Green