Mayor Turner Announces Winners of Liftoff Houston Startup Business Plan Competition 

Mayor Turner Announces Winners of Liftoff Houston Startup Business Plan Competition 
2022 Liftoff Houston grand prize winners are from left: Natasha Roberts, ActIVate Drip Spa (Service category); Aditya Aggarwal, Maritime XR (Innovation category); and Hannah Le, RE.STATEMENT (Product category).
HOUSTON – Three startup entrepreneurs each received $10,000 in seed money for their business after winning the City of Houston’s Liftoff Houston Startup Business Plan Competition:

  • Natasha Roberts: ActIVate Drip Spa (Service category), which provides medical-grade IV Drip formulas that work to eliminate unwanted toxins from the body and to aid in hydration and recovery
  • Hannah Le: RE.STATEMENT (Product category), a marketplace for designers to “upcycle” and transform old fashion into wearable art
  • Aditya Aggarwal: Maritime XR (Innovation category), which intends to disrupt conventional training modalities for the maritime industry by supplementing maritime training with advanced Virtual Reality (VR) simulations

Runners up were awarded $500 each:

  • Charmeyce Buck and Frerika Varlack: Ignite Diagnostic Solutions LLC (Service category), a professional analytical laboratory service committed to delivering accurate and timely results to its customers while meeting regulatory guidelines and standards
  • Suzanne Knobel: Bennie’s Old-Fashioned Ketchup (Product category), a producer of artisanal, small-batch ketchup made with fresh tomatoes and uncomplicated ingredients
  • Sean Carroll: Buffalo Seaweed (Innovation category), the first algae farm in Texas, which aims to expand access to green technology raw material locally while rewilding the environment in Galveston Bay

The audience also voted for Fan Favorites in each category, all who received $500: Natasha Roberts, Suzanne Knobel, and Aditya Aggarwal.The event, which celebrated its 10th anniversary on Nov. 5 during Pitch Day, is sponsored by Capital One Bank and administered by the Houston Public Library (HPL) and the Office of Business Opportunity (OBO). Capital One Bank has given more than $300,000 in prizes for aspiring entrepreneurs since Liftoff Houston’s inception.

2022 Liftoff Houston Innovation category winner Aditya Aggarwal receives his award from Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Mayor Sylvester Turner, who announced the winners, encouraged all Liftoff Houston participants to keep dreaming and to keep working to make their businesses successful. He also highlighted Liftoff Houston’s Educational Pathway, which extended the benefits of the program to those living outside City of Houston limits, or those who did not meet eligibility requirements to compete.

“Liftoff Houston goes beyond the $10,000 grand prize that is awarded in each category. This program is also about business education, mentorship and networking – all of which are foundations of creating a successful business,” he said.

All who completed the Liftoff Houston Educational Pathway attended nearly four months of required workshops and met with business and financial mentors. They also submitted business plans which were reviewed and judged by representatives from Capital One Bank and SCORE Houston. Participants also leveraged free business resources from the Houston Public Library and the Office of Business Opportunity to complete market research, develop marketing plans, and to create viable business plans.

For more information about Liftoff Houston, go to