Jon-Paul Capito, alumnus of Ivy Tech Community College−Northeast, was named champion of the 2012 New Venture Competition at an awards ceremony Thursday night. Capito will receive $20,000 to put toward his business, DeRossi. He also won a voucher for a Disney Institute event at Ivy Tech worth $399 and a one-year membership to the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, valued at $360.
“It’s a dream come true. It’s fantastic to be a part of this entire competition,” said Capito. “What I learned most about this was the fact that we are all entrepreneurs and at the end of the day we are here to help each other out. It’s just an honor to be able to accept this award tonight and it feels really, really good.”
Capito’s company, DeRossi, provides customers with handmade shirts and jackets customized to the exact specifications of the client. The next venture for the business, which was founded in 2011, will be growing a store within a store model. Visit derossico.com to learn more about DeRossi.
“Jon-Paul has a strong history of being an entrepreneur,” said Jim Tolbert, Business Administration faculty member. “I believe factors that added to his win included his low start-up cost and a high profit margin, and of course his drive to be successful.”
At the awards ceremony the three finalists made investor presentations to a panel of judges, who then selected the champion based on which business they determined was most likely to succeed. The two runners-up were Ivy Tech students Marc Accilien and Steve Miller.
“We are very hopeful that the other two finalists will continue working on their business plans,” Tolbert said. “We have committed to continue working with them in a mentoring capacity so that they can search for other seed capital.”
The New Venture Competition is possible due to a generous $20,000 donation from JB Tool, Die & Engineering, Inc. The competition is also in collaboration with Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and Fort Wayne SCORE. New Venture Competition was created to promote economic development and job creation through a business plan competition.
This is the second year the competition has taken place. Last year’s champion was Olivia Fabian, owner of OFabz Swimwear. For more information about the New Venture Competition, visit IvyTech.edu/newventure.