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The Entrepreneur Center @NVTC Congratulates Entrepreneur Navigator Awards Winners

John Backus, Wayne Jackson and CIT GAP Funds Honored for their contributions to the Greater Washington region's entrepreneur community

HERNDON, Va., Feb. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Entrepreneur Center @NVTC, a resource for technology-focused startups and entrepreneurs, today announced the winners of the 2012 Entrepreneur Navigator Awards held this morning at The Tower Club in Tysons Corner, Va.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20071106/DC06626LOGO)

The Entrepreneur Navigator Awards honor individuals and organizations who have mentored and advised entrepreneurs and startups in the Greater Washington region, as well as helped improve the quality of the entrepreneur community. Congratulations to Navigator Award winner Wayne Jackson, CEO of Sonatype, Organization Navigator Award winner CIT GAP Funds and Lifetime Navigator Award winner John Backus, founder and managing partner at New Atlantic Ventures.

Carl Grant of Cooley and Jim Wolfe of J Street Consulting and George Mason University were finalists for the Navigator Award, and Affinity Lab and Mason Small Business Development Center were Organization Navigator Award finalists.

"The winners and finalists of this year's Entrepreneur Navigator Awards put forth tremendous amounts of effort, offering their expertise and life experiences to the Greater Washington region's entrepreneur community," said Kristin D'Amore, director, The Entrepreneur Center @NVTC. "The people and organizations we acknowledge with these awards continue to shape our business community and create a desirable place to begin a new venture."

Navigator Award: Wayne Jackson, CEO, Sonatype
Wayne Jackson is CEO of Sonatype. Prior to joining Sonatype, Jackson was the CEO of open source network security pioneer Sourcefire Inc., which he guided from fledgling startup through IPO in March 2007 to a peak valuation of more than $750 million. He currently serves as an advisor to, and Board member of, a number of the DC region's fastest-growing companies including Zenoss, JackBe, Triumfant, RainKing Solutions, Alternative Fuels Group and Netuitive. As a member of the James Madison University (JMU) College of Business Executive Advisory Council, Jackson helps young entrepreneurs create successful business plans during the school's annual business plan competition for which he is a judge. He also shares his entrepreneurial experiences and expertise in building successful companies as a guest lecturer at the JMU Executive Speakers Forum, as a participant on DC Rainmakers' invitation-only CEO Roundtables, and as a speaker at venture capital conferences and forums.

Organization Navigator Award: CIT GAP Funds
CIT GAP Funds makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating significant economic return.  Since 2005, CIT GAP Funds has made about 60 seed/early-stage near-equity investments in a variety of innovation-centric areas. CIT's family of funds includes GAP I – a vintage 2004 fund fully invested in a broad array of seed-stage technology companies, GAP BioLife – a seed fund investing exclusively in life science companies, GAP Tech – a seed fund investing in IT and technology companies, and the Commonwealth Energy Fund, which was launched this past year.

Lifetime Navigator Award: John Backus, Founder and Managing Partner, New Atlantic Ventures
As a founder and managing partner at New Atlantic Ventures, John Backus is a seasoned technology entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience investing in and managing rapidly growing, high-technology companies. Prior to founding New Atlantic Ventures in 1998, Backus was a founding investor and the president and CEO of InteliData Technologies, a Fast 50 growth company in both 1997 and 1998. Backus has dedicated the past 14 years of his career in service to the entrepreneur community and has volunteered his time to work with NVTC, MAVA, CIT, the Virginia Research and Technology Advisory Commission, and many others organizations. He is always open to meeting with upstart entrepreneurs to hear their ideas and offer his advice and counsel.

About The Entrepreneur Center @NVTC
Created by the Northern Virginia Technology Council, The Entrepreneur Center @NVTC is a resource hub for technology-focused startups and entrepreneurs at every stage of their lifecycle. The Entrepreneur Center fosters entrepreneurship in students, mentors the first-time entrepreneur, advises and supports the experienced entrepreneur and facilitates strategic business relationships in the technology community. Visit www.nvtc.org/tec.

About The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC)
The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) is the membership and trade association for the technology community in Northern Virginia and is the largest technology council in the nation. NVTC has about 1,000 member companies representing more than 200,000 employees. Its membership includes companies from all sectors of the technology industry and the service providers that support these companies, as well as universities, foreign embassies, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. NVTC is recognized as the nation's leader in providing its technology community with networking and educational events; specialized services and benefits; public policy advocacy; branding of its region as a major global technology center; initiatives in targeted business sectors and in the international, entrepreneurship, workforce and education arenas; the Equal Footing Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity that serves local area youth; and The Entrepreneur Center @NVTC, which mentors new technology entrepreneurs. Visit NVTC at www.nvtc.org.

SOURCE Northern Virginia Technology Council

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