Current DePauw students break into IT business

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ITS For You, a student run technology services company, held a ribbon cutting for a new office space on Thursday.
The office space is to be shared with Refined Sites LLP.
ITS For You services include iPhone and computer screen repairs and was started by current DePauw junior George Velazquez. ITS For You is now in a formal partnership with juniors Richard Walsh and Alex Lemna and sophomore Lauren Owensby and their company, Refined Sites.
Refined Sites provides services in web designing and marketing through the web and also held the company’s grand opening yesterday.
The two businesses will share office space at 107 E. Washington St, which is also where they held the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony.
Approximately 50 people were in attendance, mostly consisting of close friends who were there to support their friends’ business successes. Junior Kevin Courtade knew this was an exciting day for Velazquez.
“He originally ran [the business] out of his dorm room,” Courtade said, who was in ITAP with Velazquez. “This is a big step. I think it’s important to be here for him.”
Though Walsh started Refined Sites by himself, he later brought Lemna and Owensby into the business, creating even more DePauw involvement.
Owensby, who originally found out about the business through DePauw’s e-services website, said that she originally interviewed to be Walsh’s business partner as a way to help finance her education.
“I wasn’t exactly sure what was going to happen,” she said. “I really love meeting with clients and talking to them.”
The companies are trying to bring in more DePauw students through creating internship positions.
“I’m having opportunities starting this semester for students to join as unpaid interns, and we’re going to train them and then offer them a paid position once I feel they’ve gained the proper experience,” Velazquez said.
They make a point to invite DePauw students not only to ask them questions about technology, but about entrepreneurship in general.
Velazquez said that through this partnership, ITS For You and Refined Sites wish not only to “provide a solution for the community and fulfill their needs,” but to “really serve as a role model-as a leader-for other students to follow their dreams, to do what makes their heart pound so fast, what they’re passionate about.”
They encourage students to come to their office for advice on starting their own businesses.
“We’re more than willing to talk with students,” Velazquez said.
While it may seem difficult to juggle school and run a business, coincidentally the two businesses coincide with the owners’ studies.
“It’s about experiential learning and taking what I do in the classroom and applying it in a way in which I can actually benefit the community,” Walsh said. “[I’m] also taking my questions from the start of my career back to the classroom while I still have that opportunity.”
Walsh believes that the hands-on experience is important to undergraduate education.
“If you leave a university and have four years of education on paper, but you can’t actually apply those skills, you’re going to lose out against competitors who have refined those skills already,” Walsh said.
Though these companies seem to have been brought to Greencastle for the purpose of helping DePauw students, they are here for the community as a whole.
“By operating out of this office, we will be able to have more exposure to the community,” Velazquez said. “I want to expand more into the community and I believe that separating ourselves from campus, putting it in a dedicated location where anybody can visit during our hours, really provides an opportunity to help them.”
They encourage those wanting more information or to get involved to visit their websites, which include its-foryou.com and refinedsites.com.