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The City of Houston is once again organizing a contest for aspiring entrepreneurs.

As an annual business plan competition geared toward spurring entrepreneurship and small business growth, Liftoff Houston is a chance for participants to learn about business literacy and work with mentors to gain more skills in getting a small business off the ground.

The competition consists of four stages over a five-month span.

During the orientation stage, participants get familiar with how to assemble a business plan, how to work with others most effectively and how to prepare for the contest itself.


The workshop stage helps participants learn what it takes to start a business through seminars conducted by Houston Community College and the U.S. Small Business Administration, including sessions on starting a business, marketing, financial statements, credit management and accessing capital.

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Business owners work with experienced professionals as part of the mentoring phase to help them overcome hurdles and create a winning business plan.  Mentors are professional business advisors from Capital One Bank, one of the contest’s sponsors, and SCORE Houston, a leader in business consulting services.

The final stage is the presentation stage, where entrepreneurs present their business plan and compete for the top prize in one of three divisions: product, service or innovation.

Participants will be eligible to win one of three cash prizes of $10,000, but contestants must be based in the Houston area, and their business must be in operation under a year with less than $10,000 in revenue.

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Contestants can apply through the City of Houston website or directly through Liftoff Houston after attending a mandatory orientation, the last one of which is scheduled for Saturday.

All applications are free of charge due July 16, 2017, by 11:00 p.m.

For those who choose not to compete, Liftoff Houston offers a workshop series to help them create a business plan and always has resources for entrepreneurs.

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