Jamal Robinson of DESIAR Eyewear wins 2016 New Venture Competition

Jamal Robinson has been named the sixth champion of Ivy Tech Community College Northeast’s New Venture Competition, which took place Thursday evening on Ivy Tech Northeast’s Coliseum Campus. He won $35,000 in capital for his business, DESIAR Eyewear.

Robinson

Robinson

Robinson sold his first pair of DESIAR Eyewear in 2012, and he calls 2014 “the game changing year” for the company: That’s when companies like Luxottica (the largest eyewear company in the world), TJX (Europe’s version of TJ Maxx), and The Aldo Group began to carry DESIAR sunglasses.

With the $35,000 he wins from the New Venture Competition, he will launch his Hoosier line of eyewear, which feature wooden frames and are entirely manufactured in Indiana.

He and two other finalists presented their business plans to a room full of community business people, and he says he felt confident during his presentation.

“When it comes to DESIAR, I know DESIAR,” says Robinson, an Ivy Tech Northeast alum who graduated from IPFW with his associate degree in business. “With all that, I felt comfortably prepared. I was confident I did the best I could do.”

Robinson presented his business plan to more than 30 community professionals, who served as judges. The other finalists were Andrew Smittie, of Green E-Waste Miracles, which collects items trash companies won’t pick up like computers and technology and recycles the material; and Guadalupe Callejas, of Metro Striping & More, an interior and exterior painting company. Callejas was also a finalist in last year’s New Venture Competition.

Each finalist presented for 15 minutes. After the presentations, judges were given an additional 15 minutes for a question-and-answer session. The judges had been provided the contestants’ business plans prior to the event.

In its sixth year, the New Venture Competition’s presenting sponsor was Dave and Mary Bear of JB Tool, Die & Engineering Inc., and was also made possible through a grant from the Edward M. and Mary McCrea Wilson Foundation. The awards dinner sponsor was ProFed Federal Credit Union, and the competition was in collaboration with Fort Wayne SCORE.

Learn more about the New Venture Competition at IvyTech.edu/northeast/newventure, where you can also watch short videos with Robinson, Smittie, and Callejas. Learn more about studying entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Northeast at IvyTech.edu/study-entrepreneurship.

Jamal Robinson won $35,000 on Thursday night at Ivy Tech Northeast’s 2016 New Venture Competition, in its sixth year. Robinson is the founder of DESIAR Eyewear. From left: James Tolbert, Ivy Tech Northeast business administration assistant professor; Robinson; Doug Wood, PNC Bank regional president; Karen Potter, ProFed Credit Union assistant vice president, commercial services; and Jerrilee K. Mosier, Ivy Tech Northeast chancellor.

Jamal Robinson won $35,000 on Thursday night at Ivy Tech Northeast’s 2016 New Venture Competition, in its sixth year. Robinson is the founder of DESIAR Eyewear. From left: James Tolbert, Ivy Tech Northeast business administration assistant professor; Robinson; Karen Potter, ProFed Credit Union assistant vice president, commercial services; Doug Wood, PNC Bank regional president; and Jerrilee K. Mosier, Ivy Tech Northeast chancellor.

Ivy Tech Northeast receives $45k pledge for College’s student entrepreneurial program

Ivy Tech Community College Northeast has received a $45,000 grant from the Edward M. and Mary McCrea Wilson Foundation toward the College’s New Venture Competition program. The first $15,000 installment of the grant will be awarded in January 2015, and some can be used to start an endowment, assuring the New Venture Competition can continue for years to come.

The New Venture Competition is for any current student or alumni of the College with an interest in starting his or her own businesses. A panel of community judges choose three finalists, who compete in the New Venture Competition, presenting their business plans to local business owners, who vote on the winner.

In its three-year existence, the New Venture champion has won $20,000 in start-up capital for his or her business, sponsored by Dave Bear and JB Tool, Die & Engineering Inc.

From left: James Tolbert, Business Administration assistant professor; 2013 New Venture champion Robert Bibbo; Dave Bear, president of JB Tool, Die & Engineering, Inc., and New Venture sponsor; Mary Bear, Dave Bear’s wife; and Jerrilee Mosier, Ivy Tech Northeast chancellor

From left: James Tolbert, Business Administration assistant professor; 2013 New Venture champion Robert Bibbo; Dave Bear, president of JB Tool, Die & Engineering, Inc., and New Venture sponsor; Mary Bear, Dave Bear’s wife; and Jerrilee Mosier, Ivy Tech Northeast chancellor

“This (Wilson Foundation) grant adds significantly to the award capital available to distribute to student entrepreneurs,” says James Tolbert, Business Administration assistant professor and head of the competition. “Also, it begins an endowment, which assures that the New Venture Competition will continue.”

Previous winners include Olivia Fabian (2011), whose Ofabz features swimwear and related accessories; Jon-Paul Capito (2012), whose DeRossi started as a menswear company and has morphed to specialize in shoes; and Robert Bibbo (2013), whose American Combat Veteran Clothing produces clothing and accessories made by and for veterans.

Robert Bibbo wins Ivy Tech Northeast’s 2013 New Venture Competition

After Thursday night’s awards dinner, Robert Bibbo has been named the 2013 New Venture Competition champion.

Bibbo

Bibbo

As the New Venture champion, Bibbo won $20,000 to use as start-up funds for his company, American Combat Veteran Clothing. The company provides military-themed clothing and accessories, and Bibbo plans to hire only veterans. Bibbo is an Iraq veteran, serving in 2008-09.

“(Winning) definitely gave validation to the idea itself,” Bibbo said. “With the amount of support I had from the idea, both from veterans and civilians, whether I won or not, the company would be fine. Our unique selling position is that it’s hard to beat: a combat vet creating jobs for other vets, creating clothing for other veterans.

“I know that things like this are very special. Being a service member myself, I know what I’ll be able to do for other service members. This check is a large part of what I’ll be able to do for them.”

In its third year, the New Venture Competition is sponsored by Dave Bear and JB Tool, Die & Engineering Inc.

For the first time in the competition’s short history, three businesses will launch: Before the event, the three finalists all stated they planned to proceed with their businesses, regardless of the outcome of the competition.

In 1985, more than 250 entrepreneurship courses were offered in colleges across the country, according to the Kauffman Foundation, an entrepreneurship research group. Since then, that number has quadrupled and quintupled, according to the Galant Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.

From left: James Tolbert, Business Administration assistant professor; 2013 New Venture champion Robert Bibbo; Dave Bear, president of JB Tool, Die & Engineering, Inc., and New Venture sponsor; Mary Bear, Dave Bear’s wife; and Jerrilee Mosier, Ivy Tech Northeast chancellor.

From left: James Tolbert, Business Administration assistant professor; 2013 New Venture champion Robert Bibbo; Dave Bear, president of JB Tool, Die & Engineering, Inc., and New Venture sponsor; Mary Bear, Dave Bear’s wife; and Jerrilee Mosier, Ivy Tech Northeast chancellor.

Ivy Tech Northeast names finalists for 2013 New Venture Competition

Ivy Tech Community College Northeast has announced the three finalists of its 2013 New Venture Competition. The competition, in its third year, rewards the student with the best business plan with at least $20,000 in start-up money.

The finalists and their plans are as follows:

  • Robert Bibbo, whose American Combat Veteran Clothing is a clothing line designed and made by combat and disabled veterans. “The purpose of this business is to get as many of the nation’s disabled and combat veterans back to work as possible,” Bibbo writes in his business summary. Bibbo is from Fort Wayne and studies Computer Information Technology.
  • Faith Maslonka, whose Outdoor Gear Fitters allows people to rent camping gear. Campers can choose Gear Pacs to fit their needs, be they novice or expert campers. “Our innovative website and fair pricing make an otherwise costly expense affordable and convenient,” she writes in her business summary. Maslonka is from Anchorage, Ala., and is a General Studies major.
  • Adara Fath, whose photography business Addie Fath Photography specializes in lifestyle portraits. “My service delivers a gift to preserve people in our lives, to share our stories throughout time,” she writes in her business summary. Fath is from Fort Wayne and studies Business Administration.

“Our student-entrepreneurs presented a wide range of business models, demonstrating creativity and excellent marketing research,” says Jim Tolbert, who heads the competition. “The finalists explained their competitive advantage and breakeven analysis, with a strong financial plan, indicating they are ready to launch their new venture.”

A winner will be announced at the New Venture Awards Dinner at 5 p.m. Sept. 19 on Ivy Tech’s Coliseum Campus, 3800 N. Anthony Blvd., in room CC1640. The awards banquet will feature a presentation by the finalists.

The New Venture Competition is sponsored by JB Tool, Die & Engineering and owner Dave Bear.