Wanderlust Houston Wins 2017 Liftoff Houston Competition

Houston, TX, November 17, 2017, - Houston Area Urban League (HAUL) Entrepreneurship Center client, Deidre Mathis, Founder & CEO of Wanderlust Houston, has been awarded one of three $10,000 prizes in the City of Houston Liftoff Business Plan Competition. Ms. Mathis, a 2017 HAUL Small Business Development University program graduate, collected the $10,000 prize for top “Innovation” Based Business Plan (software, hardware, inventions, new market businesses, etc.). Wanderlust Houston, scheduled to open in the Spring of 2018, offers private and shared accommodations to Millennial, Gen X and Gen Z commercial and leisure travelers.

Ms. Mathis was first introduced to the Houston Area Urban League Entrepreneurship Center in 2016. However, due to her work schedule, she was not able to participate in the Small Business Development University until the Fall of 2017. Despite her recent success, she has attended every class and serves as a mentor for others in the pre-venture phase of their business.

Liftoff Houston is the City of Houston's annual business plan competition. This entrepreneurial initiative aims to empower Houstonians with business literacy education and mentorship to start their own business while contributing to the local growth and sustainability of the Houston economy. To be eligible, applicants must be in the start-up phase of their business which means they either must have a developed business idea or have a business in operation for less than one year with revenue of less than $10,000. Contestants must live in the Houston city limits with their business also in the Houston city limits.

The competition takes place in four stages – orientation, workshop, mentoring, and presentation, over a 5-month period. Applicants participate in a myriad of workshops ranging from business plan basics to access to capital, as well as information sessions on essential City of Houston business resources available through the Houston Public Library (HPL) and the Office of Business Opportunity (OBO.) The goal is to enable individuals to successfully research and develop their business plan.  Applicants will also receive additional support from professional mentors from SCORE Houston and Capital One Bank to further refine the business plan for submission. The award categories are Product, Service, and Innovation. 

“Wanderlust Houston: A Texas Hostel will not only be a place to unite travelers from all over the world, but we aim to educate more Americans about hostels and how crucial they are for travelers. Not only do they help people travel on a budget, but they help build the best friendships you could ever make!”