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Entrepreneurship Updated: 28 Feb 2020

New iteration of Houston Rockets and BBVA USA Launchpad contest set to award $10,000 to local startup

The Houston Rockets and BBVA USA have announced the launch of their annual Launchpad contest for Houston entrepreneurs.

This is the second iteration of the Launchpad contest, with the first one launching in February 2019. The contest seeks Houston-area startup businesses that need a financial boost to become digitally innovative, and awards the top submission with a grand prize of $10,000 and consultations with Rockets and BBVA USA executives. This is also the first entrepreneurial contest operated under BBVA’s new Houston CEO, Dillan Knudson.

“It’s extremely exciting to collaborate with the Rockets for the first time, and for such a great initiative that helps Houston’s thriving small business scene,” said Knudson. “Part of my new role is to create opportunities and financial freedom for Houston’s communities through the bank’s ample resources, and to do that in collaboration with a staple organization of this city is an honor.”

Companies are encouraged to submit their nominations online explaining why their business should be selected. After the submission period ends on February 28, a judging period will commence between Rockets and BBVA USA representatives.

After four finalists are announced, fans will have a chance to vote on the winner in late March. The winner will be notified at the end of March, and will be presented with a check during a Rockets game in April at Toyota Center.

Companies are encouraged to submit their nominations online at, which will request the name of the company’s executive, company name, and a link to a social media post on the business’s Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn account that likes and tags BBVA and the Houston Rockets explaining:

  • What their business does and a challenge they overcame or continue to struggle within their business.
  • How the company would utilize the $10,000 to enhance their digital capabilities.

Sheirr: "We look forward to reviewing submissions and honoring the great work that is being done by these businesses in our community."

“Over the past three years, we have been proud to partner with BBVA to highlight small businesses in Houston and their contribution to our economy,” said Rockets Chief Revenue Officer Gretchen Sheirr. “Entering its fourth year, the Launchpad contest seeks nominees focused on using best in class digital strategies to enhance their small business. We look forward to reviewing submissions and honoring the great work that is being done by these businesses in our community.

In 2019, the Launchpad contest crowned Houston startup Hamper as its first ever winner. Established in 2015, Hamper sought to solve the effects of Houston’s traffic on everyday errands. Focusing on dry cleaning availability, the company created an app that allows customers to place an order and request a pick-up in only a few steps. The Hamper team then picks up from a home or office and delivers the clothes back at the day and time requested on the initial order.

“It was an absolute pleasure to be recognized by BBVA and the Houston Rockets as the winner of the 2019 Launchpad Contest,” said Hamper Co-founder and CEO Safir Ali. “It was a very exciting moment for Hamper, and we are very grateful to have the opportunity to be recognized in our community. Many thanks to both BBVA and the Houston Rockets for empowering Houston businesses and giving them such a great platform to be recognized for their efforts, and for playing an active role in empowering entrepreneurship in Houston!”