September 25, 2023

City of Houston Announces Winners of Liftoff Houston! Pitch Day 2019 Start-Up Business Plan Competition

l-r Day Edwards, The Church Space; Shehara Downing, Level Comm, LLC.; Chrishaunta Joseph, Hello PCOS

By Megan Bryant

HOUSTON (November 11, 2019) – Three aspiring entrepreneurs earned a vote of confidence and $10,000 in start-up capital on Saturday as the winners of the 2019 Liftoff Houston! Start-up Business Plan Competition.

After roughly six months of workshops and mentoring, nine finalists competed in the Shark Tank style Pitch Day to win $10,000 towards starting their own businesses and bragging rights as a category winner in the city’s coveted competition. VIP Judges selected the best business plan and pitch presentation in three categories of Product, Service, and Innovation. Capital One Bank is sponsoring the cash prizes totaling $30,000 to the top three winning business plan category presentations as well as $500 to the three category fan favorites, who were voted by Facebook viewers online.

Nicole H. Robinson, Deputy Director, Houston Public Library; Erica Simon, ABC 13 News Anchor, Freddie Raines, Senior Vice President- Houston Market, Capital One Bank; Sharon Fletcher, Houston Public Library, LiftOff Houston Program Manager.

Sherhara Downing (Service), Chrishaunta Joseph, Hello PCOS (Product), Day Edwards, The Church Space (Innovation) were selected as this year’s winners. Capital One Bank, in partnership with the Houston Public Library (HPL) and the Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) sponsored the competition which is in its 7th year.

About Liftoff Houston!
Liftoff Houston! is a competition that engages and empowers Houstonians seeking to start a new business in Houston by providing them with access to essential information, resources and the support necessary to develop a sound business plan toward realizing their goal. The 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. Anyone interested in learning to create a business plan and go through the process can do so at no charge and achieve their dream.

“Small business development is one of the areas of focus on Capital One’s five-year, $150 million Future Edge initiative to help more Americans succeed in a digital economy,” said Jim Nicholas, Houston Market President for Capital One Bank.

About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation ( is a financial holding company whose subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., had $210.4 billion in deposits and $306.2 billion in total assets as of March 31, 2015. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients through a variety of channels. Capital One, N.A. has branches located primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. A Fortune 500 company, Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 100 index.

About the Office of Business Opportunity
The City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) 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 start-up 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 (HPL) 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. With more than eight million visits 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 on Twitter @houstonlibrary or call 832-393-1313.

Photos Courtesy of the Houston Public Library

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