George Mason University tech mentorship program to expand support to early stage tech companies across the commonwealth, with help from GO Virginia grant


Fairfax, VA—Mason Enterprise at George Mason University has been awarded a GO Virginia grant to expand its network of tech mentors. The funding will support the Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP), a program under the Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, doubling its capacity to assist technology and innovation-driven startups across Virginia.

Between 2018 and 2021, more than 600 companies across the state accessed ICAP services and went on to generate $40 million in new capital. These companies represented diverse ownership: 47% were minority-owned, 32% were women-owned, and 12% were military/veteran owned.

“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Mason and support the tech mentorship team,” said Susan Baker, managing director for GO Virginia Region 7. “This initiative promises to help entrepreneurs grow and scale. Projects like these greatly impact the economic growth and diversification of start-ups statewide, particularly after the challenges of the pandemic.”

ICAP’s proposed work, which will be funded through GO Virginia’s Economic Resilience and Recovery Program, addresses a statewide need for tech-focused mentorship, capital, and business support services.

“This grant couldn’t be more timely for our work,” said Paula Sorrell, associate vice president of innovation and economic development at Mason. “As Northern Virginia and the Commonwealth of Virginia forge a path out of the pandemic, entrepreneurs and innovators will be leading the way in creating a diverse and resilient tech economy that works for everyone, and the mentors will be there to support them every step of the way.”

ICAP employs a network of mentors across the commonwealth with expertise in launching and scaling technology and innovation-focused companies. The mentors, who are themselves experienced tech entrepreneurs, advise startups on strategy, customer acquisition and attracting funding. These services are provided to client companies at no cost to them and create an exponential return on investment to Virginia’s economy.

“We are extremely grateful for this support from GO Virginia,” said Jody Keenan, state director for the Virginia SBDC Network. “ICAP has helped so many businesses get off the ground and weather the impacts of last year’s crisis, and this grant will enable us to do even more. We want to be able to provide reliable, dedicated and customized support to any tech startup anywhere in Virginia, no matter which stage they are in.”

The tech mentor team will leverage the Virginia SBDC’s 27 regional offices across Virginia. They will also lean on ICAP’s more than 60 statewide partners including accelerators, technology councils, economic development organizations and investors.

“We were really pleased to get statewide support for our project,” said Keenan. ‘’We look forward to creating new alliances that ensure wider access for Virginia’s entrepreneurs.”

About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 39,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility. Learn more at

About Mason Enterprise

Mason Enterprise provides a suite of programs, incubators, and business advisors that support research lab-to-market, tech startup, and small business activities. Launched in 2018, ICAP contributes to building Virginia’s technology competitiveness by helping inventors and entrepreneurs bring new innovations to market. The program is run by Mason’s Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network that provides advising, support and training to small businesses and future entrepreneurs. 

Mason Media Contact: Angelina Jarrouj, Office of the Provost,