Office of Business Opportunity

2023 Liftoff Houston Business Plan Competition

Liftoff Houston 2022 Winners

Liftoff Houston is the City of Houston’s annual business plan competition. It is an entrepreneurial initiative aimed to boost small business growth by equipping Houstonians with business literacy education and mentorship. The competition is sponsored by Capital One Bank, which provides cash prizes totaling $30,000. This year, there are two ways to participate in Liftoff Houston:

  • Minimum Eligibility Requirements:
    • Must be in the start-up phase of your business which means you either must have a business idea or have a business in operation for less than one year.
    • Must have revenue of less than $10,000. 
    • Must live within the City of Houston limits. Also, if you have a business location, it must be located within the City of Houston limits.
    • To verify if your residence or business is within the City of Houston limits, please visit
  • Reward:
    • Win $10,000 for your idea/business. 
    • Gain skills that will help you take your idea or small business to the next level
  • Minimum Eligibility Requirements:
    • None
  • Reward: 
    • Gain skills that will help you take your idea or small business to the next level.
    • Receive Certificate of Completion. 
    • Meet the prerequisite for the HCC Business Plan Competition upon attending all required workshops and submitting a written business plan in the same calendar year.

Both pathways include orientation, workshops, and mentoring sessions. Workshops range from business plan basics to raising capital, as well as sessions on the myriad of City of Houston’s business resources provided by departments such as the Houston Public Library or Office of Business Opportunity. Mentorship includes support from professionals from SCORE Houston and Capital One Bank to assist participants in refining or creating a business plan. The goal of the initiative is to enable individuals to produce viable, successful business enterprises. However, the competition will have an additional component of presenting and pitching a idea/business for a cash prize.

This year there will be three award categories: Product, Service, and Innovation.

$10,000 – Awarded for top “Product” Based Business Plan (Retail, resale, merchandise, etc.)
$10,000 – Awarded for top “Service” Based Business Plan (Food, labor, consulting, etc.)
$10,000 – Awarded for top “Innovation” Based Business Plan (Software, Hardware, inventions, new market businesses, etc.)

The 2023 Liftoff Houston Start-Up Business plan competition will launch Wednesday, July 12th.

Orientation is REQUIRED for everyone. The program calendar and information on how to register for workshops will be emailed upon completion of application.

Orientation and workshops will be hosted virtually via Microsoft TEAMS. Upon completion of the application, the program calendar and instructions on how to register for workshops will be emailed through the Liftoff Houston portal. Contestants/participants are required to attend one workshop per topic. Each workshop is offered multiple times to allow all contestants more than one opportunity to attend. Please do not sign up for more than one session.

Click on the APPLY button and follow the instructions below once you arrive on the LiftOff Houston website.

Step 1: Click "Register" on the top right of this page to create an account. (Once you finish creating an account the website will send you a confirmation email to confirm that you have a working email.)
Step 2: Complete the "Eligibility Test" to the determine the program you are eligible for.
Step 3: Compete an application either for the Liftoff Houston Start-Up Business Plan Competition or the Liftoff Houston Educational Pathway.

Apply Here

Please note: Liftoff team members are available Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Calls or e-mails outside of these hours will not be returned until the following business day.

City of Houston-Office of Business Opportunity
Twitter/Facebook: @Liftoffhouston
Telephone: 832-393-0954