Music Instrument Covers was named the 2014 “Next Great Idea” Oswego County Business Competition winner at a reception held Nov. 13, at The Lake Ontario Event & Conference Center, Oswego.
The company was awarded $25,000 to start their business in Oswego County.
Music Instrument Covers, a start-up company owned by Matthew Vacanti has identified an opportunity to develop a colorful and protective covering for string instruments like violins, violas, and cellos.
These products would be manufactured here in Oswego County and marketed worldwide to schools, professional musicians, and the general public. The product is unique as a low-cost solution to customize the appearance of a string instrument that won’t significantly impact the sound quality while in use.
Vacanti believes that the covers will be especially effective in attracting children and beginner students to study string instruments.
“I was delighted to present our third NGI award,” said Austin Wheelock, NGI chair and economic development specialist with Operation Oswego County. “Entrepreneurs and small business are the backbone of our economy and the building blocks for growth in our county. We believe that Music Instrument Covers is an excellent example of this and truly is the ‘Next Great Idea’ for Oswego County.”
The other finalists for the $25,000 prize were Austin Rudd and his business, Bookbrawl.com; Heather Shambo, owner of Ontario Soap Company; and Karen Crisafulli, owner of Party & Play Cafe.
Keynote speaker was Pam Caraccioli, SUNY Oswego Deputy to the President for External Affairs and Economic Development, and the topic was the new Start Up NY Tax Free Zones Program.
Judges for this year’s event were selected based on their local business knowledge and expertise in the fields of operations, management, financing, and entrepreneurship.
They were Jeff Grimshaw of the SUNY Oswego Office of Business and Community Relations; Adam Gagas of Breakwall Asset Management; Kimberly Steele of the Steele Law Firm; Shane Broadwell of the Broadwell Hospitality Group; John Sharkey IV of Universal Metal; Sue Witmer of Cayuga Community College Fulton Campus; Mike Quenville of Pathfinder Bank; John Fitzgibbons, owner of the Fitzgibbons Agency; Atom Avery, local entrepreneur and owner of Avery Rental Properties & The Beacon Hotel; and Laurie O’Brien, owner of Port City Café & Red Sun Fire Roasting Company.
“The $25,000 prize was raised in partnership with private banks, local companies, and public and private institutions that see the importance in making an investment in Oswego County’s future entrepreneurs and economy,” Wheelock said.
Sponsors included the Richard S. Shineman Foundation, Key Bank, Entergy Nuclear, National Association of Development Companies, New York Business Development Corporation, Operation Oswego County, SUNY Oswego, Lake Ontario Event & Conference Center, Small Business Development Center at SUNY Oswego, Pathfinder Bank, Fulton Savings Bank, C&S Companies, Barton & Loguidice, Centerstate CEO, Launch NY, Chirello Advertising, Oswego County Business Magazine, and Mitchell’s Speedway Press.
In addition to Wheelock, the NGI Steering Committee includes Tim Ames, Lakeside Artisans Cooperative; Pamela Caraccioli, SUNY Oswego; Steve Chirello, Chirello Advertising; John Halleron, SUNY Oswego Small Business Development Center; Jacqueline Thorpe, Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce; Evelyn LiVoti, Operation Oswego County; Deana Michaels, Pathfinder Bank; Lauren Pistell, Shineman Foundation; Shawn Seale, Key Bank; Tucker Sholtes, SUNY Oswego student; John Trimble, C&S Companies; and Mary Vanouse, city of Oswego Community Development Office.