AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Austin FC and Q2 Holdings Inc. announced today the launch of the 2023 Austin FC Dream Starter Competition, presented by Q2, in collaboration with DivInc, an Austin-based nonprofit whose mission is to generate social and economic equity through entrepreneurship. The third annual business initiative invites Austin entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups to apply and compete for $100,000 in “Dream Starter” funds to accelerate their entrepreneurial venture. The online application is now open to eligible entities and will close on Friday, April 21. The selected winning venture will be announced on Tuesday, May 23.
“We’re excited to work with Q2 and DivInc once again for this amazing initiative,” said Austin FC President Andy Loughnane. “It’s very important that our Club plays a role in fostering the diverse, entrepreneurial spirit that is such an important part of Austin’s identity as a city, and the Dream Starter competition is the perfect way to do so.”
“At Q2, our mission is centered on building strong and diverse communities, and the Dream Starter Competition will help support deserving entrepreneurs right here in Austin,” said Matt Flake, CEO for Q2. “We look forward to partnering with Austin FC and DivInc again this year to empower underrepresented businesses and help them turn their dreams into reality.”
From the initial applicant group, five (5) finalists will be notified on Tuesday, May 9, of their selection to participate in a Pitch Contest on Monday, May 22, at Q2 Stadium. Each finalist’s presentation will be evaluated by a diverse group of representatives from Austin FC, Q2 Holdings Inc., DivInc and other executives from the Austin entrepreneurial community. The Austin FC Dream Starter Competition winner will be honored with a check presentation during halftime at the Austin FC vs. Real Salt Lake match on Saturday, June 3.
The Austin FC Dream Starter Competition combines Q2’s mission to build strong and diverse communities by strengthening their financial institutions with Austin FC’s inclusivity through equity community pillar. In collaboration with DivInc and its aim to connect underrepresented entrepreneurs with the resources needed to build profitable, high-growth companies, the “Dream Starter” funds will aid a Central Texas entrepreneur in overcoming financial barriers to achieve success. Click here for a complete list of terms and conditions and to apply for the 2023 Austin FC Dream Starter Competition.
CDL Changing Lanes Driving School:
In 2022, Delbert Crawford, Founder and Owner of CDL Changing Lanes Driving School, was selected as the Austin FC Dream Starter Competition winner. Changing Lanes CDL Driving School teaches individuals from diverse backgrounds how to safely drive a commercial vehicle. The school's training programs help its students, many of whom are unemployed, gain the skills necessary for jobs driving commercial vehicles, changing the trajectory of their lives.
At Ease Rentals Corporation:
In 2021, Anthony Gantt, CEO of At Ease Rentals Corporation, was selected as the inaugural Austin FC Dream Starter Competition winner. At Ease Rentals Corporation is a short-term rental platform helping military and federal employees and their families find government approved, temporary housing with less time and frustration.
About Austin FC
Austin FC joined Major League Soccer (MLS) as the League’s 27th club in January 2019. Austin FC officially began competing in MLS in April 2021 and played its first match at home on June 19, 2021, in the new, 100% privately financed, $260 million, state-of-the-art Q2 Stadium in Austin. In its second year, Austin FC finished the regular season 2nd in the Western Conference, while also making a run to the Western Conference Final during the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Austin FC also operates the Austin FC Academy, the fully funded developmental academy representing the highest level of competition for elite youth soccer players in Central Texas, while serving as the exclusive developmental pathway to MLS for the region’s most talented young players. In 2023, the Club launched Austin FC II, a professional-level development team, competing as one of 27 clubs in MLS NEXT Pro. The team completes the pro player pathway between elite youth soccer (MLS NEXT) and MLS, for players to develop, improve, and potentially move up to the Austin FC first team.
About Q2 Holdings, Inc.
Q2 is a financial experience company dedicated to providing digital banking and lending solutions to banks, credit unions, alternative finance, and fintech companies in the U.S. and internationally. With comprehensive end-to-end solution sets, Q2 enables its partners to provide cohesive, secure, data-driven experiences to every account holder–from consumer to small business and corporate. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Q2 has offices worldwide and is publicly traded on the NYSE under the stock symbol QTWO. To learn more, please visit Q2.com.
DivInc is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to generate social and economic equity through entrepreneurship by equipping underrepresented founders with access to the critical resources they need to build investable companies. To drive systematic change, DivInc offers multiple programming opportunities including a 12-week accelerator for early-stage startups. Since its founding in 2016, DivInc has supported 73 companies resulting in $14mill in investment fundraising, 400+ jobs created, and over $4mill in revenue generated by our alumni. DivInc is headquartered in Austin, TX, with a second location in Houston, TX. Learn more at https://www.divinc.org.