With the goal of encouraging and celebrating entrepreneurship and innovation across the whole of the university, George Mason University has begun to build out a network of on-campus entrepreneurship-focused collaboration and maker spaces. We call this network the Mason Innovation Exchange (MIX). Programs encourage multi-disciplinary collaboration across all of Mason’s schools and degree programs (e.g. engineering, science, business, liberal arts). It is the place at Mason where groups can come together to develop ideas, research problems, craft solutions, and start companies. We currently operate at two locations at the Fairfax campus, the MIX@Innovation and the MIX@Fenwick.
Expose all interested students, graduate and undergraduate, to real-world challenges and problem-solving through interactions with successful entrepreneurs. Accelerate student-led startups and connect students with entrepreneurial jobs, internships, and service opportunities.
Create a destination.
Provide a central place on campus for students and faculty from all schools and disciplines. A place to meet and socialize. To find current collaborators and future partners. To use free office space and work on projects. To draft, ideate, create, and implement.
Grow the start-up culture.
Mason has always been a place where business leaders are welcome, and where innovation is rewarded. Through the MIX, we will continue to embed that spirit into Mason’s DNA, giving every student the chance to think like an entrepreneur. We aim to build a network of Mason students, faculty, alumni, and supporters who thrive in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
What we do
The MIX@Fenwick and MIX@Innovation are open to the entire Mason community, including students, faculty and staff. We host workshops, competitions, and accelerator programs that foster entrepreneurial thinking as teams seek innovative solutions to difficult problems. Business coaching and mentorship is available free of charge through collaboration with the Mason Small Business Development Center and the Mason Innovation Lab.
The MIX offers regular workshops designed to teach the skills and concepts necessary to proficiently operate the associated machinery or software. In most cases, we require all individuals to attend a workshop and become certified before using any equipment on their own. If you are interested in learning about any of the following areas, you can sign up for a workshop by visiting the "Events" tab above.
Sewing, embroidery, and serging
Virtual Reality (VR)
Electronics (basic circuits and micro-controllers)
Vinyl cutting and heat press
Mason Summer Entrepreneurship Accelerator (MSEA)
The Mason Summer Entrepreneurship Accelerator (MSEA) is a program for Mason students that allows them to explore the commercialization potential for their idea. Working in teams of 2-5 members over 8 weeks, participants conduct intense customer discovery around their business idea, and are assisted in their efforts by experienced entrepreneurial instructors and mentors.
The goals of the MSEA are to give Mason student teams a structured opportunity to determine the commercial potential of their team’s product or service idea, help participants improve their entrepreneurial, problem-solving, and collaboration skills, and encourage and facilitate the formation and success of Mason-affiliated startup companies and social entrepreneurship ventures.
Applications materials for MSEA 2019 will be available here in February 2019.
We believe in reducing barriers to learning and access to technology, and offer all of our equipment to everyone in the Mason community to discover, prototype, and innovate. Students from many disciplines and courses have used our space and tools for school or personal projects, and teams like the Mason chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers frequented the MIX in preparation for the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (pictured left).
Want to get involved or support our mission?
Both MIX spaces are open for collaborative work and projects. Everyone is welcome to visit and walkthrough, although if you wish to use any of our equipment, you must attend istraining workshop in order to become "certified." We have limited supplies available for building and you are welcome (and encouraged) to bring your own prototyping materials. As of now, all of our workshops are free to GMU-affiliated individuals, and each student is granted a small amount of PLA printer filament for use once they have been certified.
- Ask questions! Our team members and volunteers are very knowledgeable and happy to help.
- First-come-first-serve. If you have a time-sensitive project, please reach out to us and we'll see if we can accommodate you.
- You must be trained before using any of our equipment.
- Clean up and return all tools and equipment before you leave.
- Do not remove any tools, supplies, or equipment from the space.
- Refill any tools/items when empty. If you are uncertain on how to so do, ask a MIX team member.