Experiential Programs

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship develops experiential learning opportunities to complement and expand traditional academic offerings.

We invite students from all fields of study, Mason alumni, faculty, staff and community members to join us as we explore innovation and entrepreneurship.

Learn more about our experiential programs:


The Depot, a student venture program

The Depot provides Mason students with an entrepreneurship education that extends beyond the classroom.  

Participating students set up recurring pop-up retail farm store sales events in partnership with local restaurants and community organizations such as the City of Fairfax Economic Development Authority and the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia. The pop-ups provide community members access to purchase regionally produced food and beverage items and create new business channels for regional entrepreneurs. 

In addition, CIE drives 20% of the proceeds to combatting food insecurity on campus in partnership with Mason's Patriot Pantry.

CIE Students at a Depot pop-up

CIE students and staff at a retail pop-sales event for The Depot program


CIE Book Club: Immerse yourself in innovation!

The CIE Book Club was created to connect the #MasonNation with entrepreneurial works. Register your interest today to receive a copy of the current book. Registration is requested even for previous participants. 

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Patriot Pitch Competition

Launch your new business with the Patriot Pitch Competition! Held annually, the competition supports idea and early-stage business ventures and is open to current Mason students and recent alumni from all majors/fields of study.

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Student Design Challenge

Reinvent an industry ripe for disruption! Each semester, the Student Design Challenge asks participants to explore current industry challenges and reimagine solutions. Read an article about the Spring 2022 Student Design Challenge here

CIE provides participants with access to tools, technology, and mentorship as well as the chance to learn from industry experts and local entrepreneurs. 

Winners of the Student Design Challenge are eligible to apply for the CIE Innovation Award to help bring their innovative idea into reality. Winners also receive post-program ongoing support from CIE and opportunities to present their prototypes at CIE events. 

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Business and Entrepreneurship Learning Community

The Business and Entrepreneurship Learning Community (LC) is our upper-level (sophomore, junior, and senior students) learning community located in Blueridge Hall. The Business and Entrepreneurship LC welcomes students from all fields of study, who are passionate about business and/or entrepreneurship. No course is required for students to be part of this LC. 

Students may become part of any of these LCs by selecting them on their housing application. Please look on the Office of Housing and Residential Life’s website to find the Housing Portal.  

Learn more about Costello College of Business Learning Communities here

National Science Foundation: I-Corps 

NSF I-Corps is a program aimed at teaching university researchers the process of moving from discovery to commercialization. Program participants will use the Lean Launchpad curriculum to assess the commercial viability of opportunities that arise from academic research in the STEM fields by conducting customer interviews and working closely with mentors who have commercialization expertise. View full details here.

Who is Eligible?

Mason students, faculty, staff and alumni that are: 

  • interested in learning about the innovation management & entrepreneurship process; 
  • have a desire to explore viability of technology, innovation or idea; 
  • have the ability to complete I-Corps curriculum; apply; execute in 1-3 intense months ($1,000-$3,000) 

Learn more about the program here