Welcome the newest partner of the TreeHouse: Southwest Airlines

We’ve been sending out some teaser tweets for quite some time now, and we are happy to finally announce that we can tell you what all the buzz was about!

The TreeHouse has partnered with Southwest Airlines to help women and/or minority- owned startups take their business to new heights! These North Texas entrepreneurs will have the ability to apply to the Soar to Success Business Pitch Competition for a chance to win a year’s worth of free business travel on Southwest Airlines!

We told you this was big!

This has been a long time in the making and we couldn’t be happier with the end result. Southwest Airlines has never had a partnership like this before, so it’s an incredible opportunity for the TreeHouse to be able to work with a massive company with an international footprint to help local startups and entrepreneurs.

Southwest Airlines was a startup not too long ago- it was originally an idea on a cocktail napkin that turned into an airline that served three cities: Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. From its first flight on June 18, 1971 to today, Southwest Airlines has become a leader in the aviation industry and a leader in North Texas. Going from a startup to an international corporation is not easy. And that’s exactly why Southwest Airlines chose to partner with the TreeHouse. So they can join the TreeHouse entrepreneurs on their pathways to success.

As I’m sure all of you know, the TreeHouse is 501c3 nonprofit coworking space. We focus on education and mentorship to help startups and entrepreneurs become successful. What else do startups need to be successful? They need access capital, media, introductions, and more. This partnership with Southwest Airlines will do all of the above. A year’s worth of free travel on Southwest Airlines can be the difference between making it and not making it. Having access to business travel for potential business meetings with large corporations, out of state conferences, investors, etc, we are giving a lucky entrepreneur a greater chance at success. 

How’s this going to work, you might ask? Well, let me tell you.

Applications for the Soar to Success Business Pitch Competition are being accepted now through midnight on August 6th, 2016. You can apply here. This pitch competition is currently open to women entrepreneurs, women owned businesses, minority entrepreneurs, and minority owned businesses in North Texas.

Why only women or minority entrepreneurs and/or owned businesses? Southwest Airlines is a leader in the country on Diversity and Inclusion, so we thought this partnership would be an excellent opportunity to highlight that aspect of their business.

Once all the applications are in, there will be a panel of judges who review the applications and choose the top four applicants. The judges will base their scoring on three things: knowledge of the space they’re in, product and customer validation with credible knowledge to the adjustments needing to be made to reach their next milestone, and the actual presentation pitch itself. Those four applicants will proceed to the final round, the Soar to Success Business Pitch Competition on Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 at 6pm at the Addison TreeHouse!

The Pitch Competition will be a launch party for the partnership between Southwest Airlines and the Addison TreeHouse as well as when the finalists will present their pitch to a panel of esteemed judges. The winner will be presented with one year’s worth of free business travel.

This partnership is a big turning point in the startup community in Dallas. First, it is helping the TreeHouse have a larger outreach in the community; the goal of TreeHouse is to support entrepreneurs by giving them access to the tools they need to be successful. Second, having a large corporation in North Texas support local startups can and will inspire other businesses to want to give back- after all, all businesses begin as a startup! 

Here is the link to the application for the Soar to Success Business Pitch Competition. Good luck to everyone!