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2013 Winners

“Liftoff Houston!” Business Plan Competition Selected Three Prize Winners Receiving Awards Totalling $30,000 


Houston (December 13, 2013) – PledgeCents, a Houston-based start-up, emerged as the Grand Prize winner in the City of Houston’s “Liftoff Houston!” Business Plan Competition.  Six finalists competed for first, second, and third place. The Grand Prize was $15,000 with second place recieving $10,000, and third place recieving $5,000 in seed capital. Sponsored by Capital One Bank in partnership with the Houston Public Library (HPL) and the Office of Business Opportunity (OBO), the competition was created 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. First, Second, and Third Prize Winners were selected from six finalists during a final pitch presentation on Friday, December 13, 2013.

For more information visit www.liftoffhouston.com or email liftoffhouston@houstontx.gov.

$15,000 Grand Prize Winner:
Ricky Johnson and Andyshea Saberioon are finalists with their business plan for PledgeCents, an online crowdfunding platform for fundraising for grade schools.

$10,000 Second Place Winner:
Monica Luna and Kimberly Levicky are finalists with their business plan for ProveFIT, a gamification-based, customizable software platform created for physical fitness and health-focused businesses. 

$5,000 Third Place Winner:
Shirley Astwood is a finalist with her business plan for Greenbagger Stands, which provides a reusable green bags dispenser solution for retailers. 

Additional Finalists:
Marisol Del Sol-Auten is a finalist with her business plan for Solutions Property Investment & Management, a real estate consulting firm offering professional consultancy to first-time buyers of income-producing properties.

Sharica Hawkins and Steve Hawkins are finalists with their business plan for Center Court Foundation, which will provide youth sports training and coaching.

Sarah Wakefield is a finalist with her business plan for Blitz Training and Performance Solutions, a training and consulting company specializing in social media, mobile technology and other electronic platforms.