About the competition

HCC’s annual 2021 Business Plan Competition (BPC) is an opportunity for proposed, startup and existing entrepreneurs to develop focused plans to start or grow their businesses.

Applications are accepted in January. The BPC will begin in late February and run through early June, with six free, virtual, 1.5 hour training sessions. 

Two advisors will be provided to each accepted team. Applicants can apply as a team of from one to five persons.



Participants can look forward to the following:

  • Free training & one-on-one advising.
  • Seed money will be awarded to top five teams. 

Last year $26,000 was awarded in seed money to the top five teams, with $39,000 in-kind prizes and $22,000 of discounted support services!  All teams will receive in-kind prizes and support services.

2019 PRIZE WINNERS



Preparing to Apply - 2021 HCC Business Plan Competition 

  • Proposed & Startup* Entrepreneurs - 3 Steps:
    • 1) Financial Webinar, 2) Class/Program, 3) Apply
  • Existing Entrepreneurs - Just 2 Steps:
    • 1) Financial Webinar and 2) Apply

Proposed - A business that is in the planning stages or has opened but has not yet produced revenue. Founder is planning to start the business within 12 months following the competition.

Startup - A startup is considered any business that is producing revenue but had not yet achieved six continuous months of net profit prior to the pandemic. Businesses that have been launched/opened, but are still in the process of proving the business model and management. 

Existing - An existing business can range from a small business to a large enterprise. In either case the initial business model has been proven and, prior to the pandemic, they were operating for the most part profitably with positive cash-flow. The primary focus of the company is repositioning to adjust to the pandemic, adjusting the business model accordingly to get back on track to growing the business profitably.

Proposed and Startup Entrepreneurs - You may have already taken the required financial webinar and class/program. Details are below, but, if you have not, you can still sign up for the required financial workshop and class from now until 12:00pm February 01, 2021 and you must submit your completed HCC Business Plan Competition Application by 12:00 pm noon CST on February 01, 2021.

Existing Entrepreneurs - Take Just the Financial Webinar - You can still sign up for the required Financial Webinar (no class required) from now through the HCC Business Plan Competition Application Deadline by 12:00 pm noon CST on Monday February 01, 2021.  (Webinars are on 1/14/21, 1/23/21 and 1/30/21).  Details below. 


For Proposed, Startup & Existing Companies - Take Financial Webinar:

  • Financial Webinar - Required for Proposed, Startup AND Existing Business Owners - A one-day webinar. 
    • Previous Financial Webinar Dates at HCC that will satisfy this requirement: 11/1/18, 12/13/18, 01/15/19, 01/26/19, 02/02/2019, 10/05/19, 01/14/20, 01/25/20 & 02/01/20, SBSS Aug-Sept 09/14-09/17/20 and SBSS Oct-Nov 11/09-11/12/20.
    • For Upcoming Webinar Dates, choose and sign up for the day that is best for you. Click on these links to choose and sign up for one Virtual Online Financial Webinar - Thursday 1/14/21Saturday 1/23/21 or Saturday 1/30/21.  Be sure to sign up for the financial webinar prior to submitting your 2021 BPC Application (January 8-29). Then attend the webinar on the date you registered for it.

For Proposed & Startup Companies - Take Required Class/Program:

Class or Program: Proposed and Startup Team Entry Requirements - The Team Leader of each proposed or startup business applicant team should complete ONE of the following classes at HCC or ONE of the following HCC programs or partner programs:  

Have you completed one of these Prequalifying Classes or Programs?

  • 1) HCC Creating a Successful Business Plan Online Continuing Education Class - Still Available! - Quick Sign Up - It takes just three minutes to sign up and takes about 24 hours of your time! Scroll down for More and to Sign Up.
  • 2)  Small Business Management - BUSG 2309  (for college credit) 
  • 3)  Entrepreneurship & Economic Development - BUSG 1307  (for college credit); prior to the competition;
  • 4) Small Business Success Series by HCC
  • 5) Liftoff Houston Startup Competition
  • 6) Houston Area Urban League Small Business University (HAUL SBU)
  • 7) University of Houston SURE program

If you have already completed one of the above, just sign up for and attend a financial webinar in January and submit a strong Application before the competition's February 01, 2021 Application Deadline.

If not, Proposed and Startup Entrepreneurs can still take the following Self-Paced on line class and finish it by February 23 (deadline extended from February 15 due to winter storm).  Creating a Successful Business Plan – SIGN UP NOW or before you submit your application


Competition Timeline

  • Apply - January 8 - February 01, 2021   
  • Teams Announced - Rescheduled from February 19 to February 26 due to storm delay.*
  • Training - Six free, virtual, 1.5 - hour sessions:
    • Tuesdays 6:30-8:00pm - 1st competition training session is rescheduled from February 23 to March 2 due to storm delay*, Subsequent training sessions: March 9, March 23, April 6, April 20 & May 11.  
    • Note one team member from each competing team must be present at all six virtual training sessions!
  • Plan Submission Deadline - May 10, 2021
  • Slide Presentation & Video Submission Deadline - May 17, 2021
  • Finalists Present to Judges - June 3, 2021
  • Prize Money! - All Completer Teams Celebrated-Prize Money Awarded - June 10, 2021

Virtual Event/Program on ZOOM. Competition Training, Finals and Awards Ceremony & Reception will be hosted on ZOOM. 

* WINTER STORM UPDATE - HCC HAS BEEN CLOSED ALL WEEK DUE TO THE WINTER STORM AND WILL RE-OPEN ON WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 24.  AS A RESULT OF STORM DELAYS THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACCEPTED TEAMS HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FROM FEBRUARY 19 TO FEBRUARY 26 AND  TRAINING SESSION #1 IS ALSO RESCHEDULED FROM FEBRUARY 23 TO MARCH 2. 

WE WISH ALL OF YOU WELL AS WE NAVIGATE THE END OF THIS STORM AND RECOVERY FROM IT.  HOUSTON'S RESLIENCE AND COMMUNITY SPIRT WILL TAKE US THROUGH AND TO THE OTHER SIDE OF YET ANOTHER HURDLE THAT, ONCE AGAIN, HELPS US SEE JUST HOW MUCH INNER STRENGTH WE HAVE TO BE AN ASSET TO OUR OWN LIVES,  OUR FAMILIES AND OUR COMMUNITY.  THANKS TO EVERYONE IN THE COMMUNITY DOING WHAT EACH OF US CAN TO SUPPORT EACH OTHER AND THOSE WHO ARE IN GREATER NEED.  HERE'S WISHING YOU AND YOURS A SAFE AND STEADY RECOVERY AS WE WELCOME THIS WARMER WEATHER.


Next Step:  APPLY 

If you have already completed the above mentioned webinar, and (if required) the class; fill out the application.  If you still need to take the webinar and/or the CASBP class that is still available, register for it/them prior to submitting the application. 

Submit your application January 8 - February 01, 2021 12:00 pm noon CST as follows: 

  • Read the Contestant Requirements and Competition Rules - You must commit to this in the application.
  • Get your Resumes ready for each team member before you submit your application – Have electronic resumes for EACH team member ready to attach.  Upload each resume in a pdf file or word.doc file when prompted in the online application.  You cannot advance in the application past a certain point, until you attach a resume, so we recommend you have them ready when you start.
  • Tips for a Strong BPC Application – You can start your application and save it before submitting it. Once you click SUBMIT it, you can no longer make changes. Note: there are important BUSINESS CONCEPT QUESTIONS in the application. We recommend you get started on your answers to the business concept questions in the on-line application by first typing them into a word.doc and saving it, so you can better write and prepare your answers before cutting and pasting into the on-line submission form; and so you will have a copy of your answers. Here are the BUSINESS CONCEPT QUESTIONS you can prepare for before you fill out the online application form: ProposedStartup and Existing
  • Video - Totally Optional!  Not Required!  If you'd like to submit a brief video, please do, but it is okay not to do so.   
  • 2021 Application Deadline – February 01, 2021 12:00 pm noon CST.  We recommend you start your application early, to ensure you meet the deadline. We encourage you to submit it early.  We will be choosing 25 teams for the 2021 competition as we review completed applications up to and after the application deadline, until all teams have been notified by February 19, 2021.

  • Team Leaders can begin your application by clicking the green Register button at the TOP RIGHT OF THIS PAGE.  You can save the application in draft until you click Submit. Note, after you click submit, you will no longer be able to edit your application.  Deadline February 01, 2021 12:00 pm noon CST. 


In-Kind Prizes Awarded to All Graduating teams!

The greatest prize is moving through the competition’s free advising & training, but you could win prize money too! Last year, $26,000 was awarded in seed money to the top five teams, with $39,000 in-kind prizes and $22,000 of discounted support services!  All teams will receive in-kind prizes and support services. 


For Questions email us at c4e@hccs.edu

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