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Business Incubator Closing at End of Week

By Potomac Local News March 25, 2013 12:00 pm

3 Comments

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – The effort by George Mason University to provide start-up companies with office space in the Woodbridge area will come to an end on Sunday.

The Mason Enterprise Center located in the I-95 Business Park off Golansky Boulevard and Prince William Parkway is shutting its doors. All six people who had offices at the business incubator have been relocated by the owner of the office complex.

Open in Woodbridge for more than two years, the hope was to attract small companies that would utilize the center to grow their operations until the need for larger accommodations arose. But the center’s location in an area that lacks a downtown appears to have hampered its success.

“We find that a location centered in a city tends to lend itself people who are looking for things that are within walking distance of the office. Our location in Woodbridge was not city centered, and that’s something that worked against us,” said Renne Younes, with the Mason Enterprise Center.

Younes said the closure of the Woodbridge center was a planned one, and it will give Younes and staff more time to focus on their next project – solidifying an agreement with Manassas to relocate their Mason Enterprise Center incubator currently on the Prince William Campus of George Mason University, near the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, to a location in Old Town Manassas. Younes could not say where in Old Town Mason might put down roots, and added the announced departure of City Manager John Budesky will undoubtedly have an impact on negotiations for the project. An agreement on the center could be reached within the next 60 days, added Younes.

In addition to Woodbridge, the Mason Enterprise Center in Spotsylvania County will also close at the end of the month. It had competition from another business incubator on the Fredericksburg campus of Mary Washington University.

After both centers close, the remaining Mason Enterprise Centers will be located on the Prince William Campus of George Mason University in Manassas, on George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus, in Leesburg, and in Springfield.

 

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  • Dave

    Maybe the County departments of Planning and Economic Development should get together and discuss why all the best-laid plans of Boards and Commissions can’t seem to create a community that can support things like this. I mean, all those big tech businesses locating in Innovation can’t keep this alive. Maybe it’s time for the County to try to create some real communities and not same-ole subdivisions and flashy lifestyle centers.

  • http://www.neabscoactionalliance.org Connie Moser

    I agree with Dave! Plus, even though I have been a member of the Prince William Chamber for 3 years, attend many community meetings in numerous districts, it wasn’t until I met Renie Younts that I even knew the MEC existed.

    This was a great idea. It simply never had the support, encouragement and promotion needed to make it work. (…and honestly, the rent for space was pretty high for someone on no budget.) It would have been less expensive to use the MEC than opening your own storefront, and the added advantage of using space provided by MEC would have lent a new business a legitimacy and presence.

    I still think the concept is a great idea. A better location may also be instrumental to success.

  • http://KirkJohnson.LegalShield.com Kirk E. Johnson

    I hope the successful Springfield Community Business Partnership (CBP)/ Women’s Business Center model is part of the plans for the next effort… There is a significant need in the area.