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:

Student Venture Program

The Student Venture Program, Campus Food and Beverage Network (CFBN), provides Mason students with an entrepreneurship education that goes beyond the classroom. We believe that experiential opportunities are the best way to learn about entrepreneurship, the food and beverage industry, and small business. CFBN students work with Mason alumni and regional entrepreneurs to create their products and services and, as with many modern businesses, drive 20 percent of the revenue toward social impact. This year we are focusing our efforts and driving that 20 percent towards combating food insecurity and hunger on campus in collaboration with the Student Support and Advocacy Center’s Patriot Pantry

Student Venture Program students at the Asian Festival on Main in the City of Fairfax.

The Depot

The Depot uses innovation and entrepreneurship to create the roots of a world class, local food system and retail hub as well as a cutting-edge experiential learning program. The Depot is a small farm, food and beverage retail pop-up and program that will make locally grown and produced items available while helping activate and energize underutilized retail real estate in Northern Virginia.  

Center faculty, full-time staff and students will operate the pop-ups and programs, manage vendor relations, inventory and sales, account for the sales and operations, and grow relationships with local suppliers to The Depot. As with all student venture programs, 20 percent of revenue will go to fight food insecurity in the region. A special emphasis will be placed on working with food and beverage businesses owned and operated by members of underserved populations. 

Former Center director David J. Miller, PhD, at the launch of The Depot, a pop-up retail farm store as part of CIE’s focus on the regional food and beverage ecosystem.

Smart People Still Read Books Book Club 

The Smart People Still Read Books 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. 

Register Now

CIE Mason Book Club: Smart People Still Read Books. Group discussion on Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food by Wendell Berry

Group discussion on Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food by Wendell Berry. 

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

NSF I-Corps

Learn more about the NSF I-Corps program here

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 School of Business Learning Communities here

Learn more about Learning Communities at Mason here.