Mason Student Venture Fund
The Mason Student Venture Fund, launched by the George Mason University School of Management, will harness the entrepreneurial energy and innovative spirit of Mason's student body. It provides funding, training, and mentorship for a team of students (of any academic discipline) to explore ideas for business products and services in partnership with Mason faculty, business leaders, investors, and successful entrepreneurs.
Student involvement is required of ventures seeking capital from the Fund, and must (at a minimum) include one student or recent graduate owning founders' equity. Students may come from any discipline at Mason, and are not restricted to School of Management majors. George Mason graduates applying to the Fund must have matriculated in the past twelve months.
Initially, the Fund will invest limited amounts of up to $20,000. The goal for the Fund is to raise a minimum of $1 million, eventually permitting larger early stage investments in student-related businesses. Student groups who participate in the Dean's Business Plan Competition each fall will be eligible to be awarded $20,000 of seed capital and in-kind services from attorneys, accountants, and other service providers.
In partnership with faculty, researchers, investors and entrepreneurs from academic and private sectors, the Mason Student Venture Fund will connect student entrepreneurs to resources throughout Mason but also within Northern Virginia and Greater Washington, D.C. The university will work to match the winning venture to industry-specific mentors so that they can receive advice from the area's start-up community.
A Board of Student Managers will be selected in the Fall Semester of 2012 to act as the initial screeners of applicant firms seeking investment funds. Students Managers will include both School of Management undergraduate and MBA candidates, who will be chosen on a competitive basis from résumés and interviews. Final investment decisions will be made by a Board of Fund Managers, who will include donors, alumni who are professional investors, and faculty. Jim Wolfe, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and assistant professor of management, will serve as the initial chair of the Board of Fund Managers.
- To support entrepreneurial ideas generated by students (of any academic major) and their collaborators.
- To expand opportunities for Mason students to acquire entrepreneurial skills, knowledge, and perspective.
- To link Mason students with successful private sector entrepreneurs and investors.
- To increase the number of new companies and products brought to market by Mason students.
- To expand the number of new ventures launched in Virginia and Greater Washington, D.C., providing economic, social and financial returns.