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Mayor Parker announces 2014 “Liftoff busines plan competition

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On Wednesday June 11, at her press conference in the rotunda of City Hall following the City Council meeting, Mayor Parker was joined by Houston Library Director Dr. Rhea Lawson, Office of Business Opportunity Director Carlisa Wright, reprsentatives of Capital One Bank to launch the 2014 “Liftoff” Business plan competition. They were joined by Ricky Johnson and Ed Severian of “Place Sense,” winners of last year's award.

The Liftoff competition is open to owners of small businesses in operation for less than one year with earnings less than $10,000. Entrants compete for $30,000 in prizes, an annual subscription to the Houston Businesses Journal, and membership in the Chamber of Commerce of their choice, and legal services from Texas BizCo.

“If you can dream it, you can achieve it in Houston,” said Mayor Parker. “Thanks to Capital One Bank, the Houston Public Library and the Office of Business Opportunity we are able to provide the start-up support needed to turn dreams into reality. It’s just the kind of help that could help launch Houston’s next big entrepreneurial venture.”

According to the Mayor's press release, “The “Liftoff Houston!” Business Plan Competition is designed to encourage Houstonians to achieve the goal of business ownership while contributing to the local growth and sustainability of the Houston economy.

Dr. Rhea Lawson, director of Houston Public Library, emphasized the vast resources available to entrpreneurs, and the necessity of access to references and technology in developing a business plan.

To successfully research, develop and present the business plan, participants are required to have an HPL Card, attend workshops offered by industry experts, ranging in topics from business plan basics to presenting plans to financial institutions, and attend information sessions to learn about the vast resources available to support new business startups through HPL and OBO.

Additional support will also be provided through professional business mentors to help participants further refine their business plan.”

Ed Severian, an owner of last year's competition created an appliction to help teachers facilitate raising funds for classrooms. They described it as “Bakesale 2.0” and stated they had helped classrooms raise over $55,000 nationwide. He encouraged all entrepreneurs to participate, no matter

Last year, over 300 entrants submited plans.

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