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Houston Announces Business Plan Competition

Capital One Bank Sponsors Liftoff Houston!

Mayor Annise Parker today announced the launch of the “Liftoff Houston!” Business Plan Competition. Sponsored by Capital One Bank and in partnership with the Houston Public Library (HPL) and the Office of Business Opportunity (OBO), the competition aims to engage and empower Houstonians seeking to start a new business in Houston by providing them with access to essential information, resources and support necessary to develop a sound business plan as a first step toward realizing this goal. For more information or to register, visit or call 832-393-0954.

The competition will be take place in two rounds – an application round and presentation round, over a 6-8 month period. Capital One Bank is providing cash prizes totaling $30,000, including a $15,000 grand prize, to the winning business plan submissions.

Registration opens April 26, 2013, and is preceded by a mandatory orientation that will provide a general overview of the competition application and judging process and requirements. Participating applicants will be assigned a professional business coach/mentor and a personal financial advisor. Orientation sessions will be offered in May 2013 at select libraries citywide.

To be eligible, applicants must be in the start-up phase of their business and only in operation for less than one year or with revenue of less than $10,000, must live in Houston and plan to operate their business in Houston. The top three finalists will receive much needed capital to invest in their business.

“The City of Houston wants to serve our small business community by helping it grow, and Liftoff Houston will be a part of that effort,” said Mayor Parker.  “Navigating the various permits and regulations can be intimidating for new business owners, and thanks to Capital One, they can even have more startup cash to get their business going. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

“At Capital One Bank, we are committed to Investing for Good in Houston, connecting our company’s people and financial resources to education, financial literacy, and small business and workforce development,” said Annella Metoyer, Houston Market President for Capital One Bank. “The Liftoff Houston competition can help local businesses grow and create jobs, which is so important to the community. It’s a great example of how Capital One Bank brings Investing for Good to life for businesses in Houston. We’re pleased to partner with Mayor Parker, the Houston Public Library and the Office of Business Opportunity to offer this competition.”

“We are proud to be a part of the awesome team launching Liftoff Houston! This project is buoyed by an exciting public-private partnership that supports Houston’s strong entrepreneurial spirit and one of Mayor Annise Parker’s citywide priorities, Jobs and Sustainable Development. We are thrilled that Liftoff Houston will showcase the vast resources and services available through the Houston Public Library and the Office of Business Opportunity that are invaluable to small startup businesses. Liftoff Houston also presents a unique opportunity to emphasize the important role that public libraries play in small business development and the immeasurable impact that free access to critical business-related resources has on the community,” said Houston Public Library Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson.

The Office of Business Opportunity’s Director Carlecia Wright said, “We are truly ecstatic about this wonderful venture. The Liftoff Houston Business Plan Competition provides an excellent opportunity for startup entrepreneurs to take full advantage of the suite of services made available through the City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity, where we help educate, connect and grow our local businesses.”

About The Competition
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.

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.

About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, is a Fortune 500 company with more than 900 branch locations primarily in Texas, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Its subsidiaries, Capital One, N.A. and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients.

About the Office of Business Opportunity
The City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity is committed to creating a competitive and diverse business environment in the City of Houston by promoting the growth and success of local small businesses through a wide range of services from startup business assistance to certification for established businesses seeking contract opportunities with the City. Through OBO’s Houston Business Solutions Center, they provide resources that help with the launch, sustainability, and growth of businesses. For more information about the Office of Business Opportunity and their suite of services, please visit or call 832-393-0954.

About the Houston Public Library
The Houston Public Library operates 35 neighborhood libraries, four HPL Express Libraries, a Central Library, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, The African American Library at the Gregory School, and the Parent Resource Library located in the Children’s Museum of Houston. Serving more than seven million customers per year in person and online, HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs by providing library customers with free use of a diverse collection of printed materials and electronic resources, Internet, laptop and computer use, and a variety of database and reference resources with live assistance online 24/7. For further information, visit the Houston Public Library at or call 832-393-1313.

About the Houston Public Library Foundation (HPLF)
HPLF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, seeks increased philanthropic funds to retain and enhance Houston Public Library’s wide range of initiatives that cannot be sustained through tax support. These funds provide free programs, more books, downloads and other free materials, and staff training to serve the needs of Houston’s diverse and thriving population. The Foundation also strives to increase the awareness of the Houston Public Library and its initiative to provide a wide range of free materials and services to its 45 library locations and online sites. Together, HPLF and the Friends of the Houston Public Library support the needs of the Houston Public Library.  For further information, visit or call 832.393.1464.





Sandra Fernandez

Manager of Public Relations
Houston Public Library

832.393.1381; cell 713.435.9448


Steven Thorpe

Capital One Bank 
Corporate Communications

504-533-2753; cell 504-579-4222

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