IWU grad wins Taylor Business Plan Competition
Friday, May 11, 2012
By Derek Beigh firstname.lastname@example.org
UPLAND - Convincing a room of men that they should buy her
product wasn't enough for Amy Dobrikova; even when one of them did,
her work wasn't finished.
She needed to convince them others would do the same.
Dobrikova's Spontaneity Designs, with their patented
hand-warming ZMuff, was one of five Indiana small businesses that
assembled for the 2012 Taylor University Business Plan Competition
Thursday. Each gave a presentation to a panel of eight local
businesspeople with a first prize of up to $23,000 on the
Dobrikova and her partner, Stefan Dobrikov, finished in third
place and received a $1,000 cash prize as well as an offer to
relocate to Grant County and receive $7,000 in five-year forgivable
loans from the Grant County Economic Growth Council.
For Dobrikova, that prize puts her on the path to something much
"Your hands don't touch inside, which is what makes (the ZMuff)
unique. When I was in college I was in a competition called
Envision AU, and the $15,000 I won there got me the license and
patents (for the ZMuff). This is the next step," she said. "We want
to expand our manufacturing, fulfill orders and attend trade
"We want to warm the hands of women of all ages."
Spontaneity Designs, of Anderson, finished behind runner-up
360° Mobile, a Muncie company that hopes to market an innovative
power wheelchair. Indiana Wesleyan University graduate Santiago
Jaramillo took the top spot with his company, BlueBridge
Jaramillo pitched a business based around providing mobile apps
custom-designed for business clients, which has already signed
contracts with university athletics programs, convention and
visitor's bureaus and automobile dealers. Current clients include
the Grant County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Indiana
Jaramillo, an IWU graduate and valedictorian, is already based in
Marion and stands to receive $7,000 in cash and a $15,000 loan. He
also won $1,000 for being the best undergraduate project.
Tim Eckerle, executive director for the Growth Council, said
Jaramillo is evidence of the Growth Council's programming at
"He's the poster child for our entrepreneurship endeavors; he's
participated in every phase. He became friends with a mentor as
part of the entrepreneur speaker series and was part of the winning
team in the I-69 Collegiate Challenge," he said. "(Jaramillo) was
one of the top business students at IWU, and he's already off to a
great start in Grant County. BlueBridge was the clear-cut winner to
BlueBridge Digital was the first undergraduate company to win the
competition. Spontaneity Designs was the only team competing
Thursday not composed of undergraduate students, an all-time high.
Pals for Paws, presented by Leisha Sigler of Muncie, and Rocketman
Designs from Terre Haute's Jacob Lueck finished the field.
Mick Bates, director of Taylor's Center for Research and
Innovation, said he started the competition eight years ago to
foster economic development and creativity in the region and Grant
"We want to integrate the university with the local community to
inspire entrepreneurship. Our hope is, with this catalyst, these
young business owners will take the next step and be successful
sooner in Indiana. Those loans really sweeten the pot if the
competitors relocate in Grant County," he said. "I think this crop
of finalists are some of the best we've seen. It was a tough
"They all have great potential."