Mason Enterprise Center 
Makpar graduates with HUBZone designation and higher sales
After three years, Makpar Corp graduated from the MEC-Leesburg business incubator with their HUBZone designation, sales that went from $400,000 in 2015 to $4+ million for 2018, and a staff that grew from two to 48 employees.  According to Seema Khan, CEO of Makpar Corp.  "The opportunity to network and learn from other company executives located at MEC-Leesburg was the most valuable part of being at MEC. Also the advice and help provided by the Town of Leesburg and SBDC@MEC-Leesburg, as we set up our HUBZone program, was invaluable. We could not have done it without the communal support in the early stages at the MEC." Susan Henson, MEC-Leesburg Regional Director, said, "Makpar truly utilized a variety of resources while a member in the MEC-Leesburg through MEC GovCon events, PTAP classes, Loudoun Chamber connections, and advice from SBDC business counselors." Makpar is now in a commercial space in Leesburg.
BRCI and Catalyst Operations & Analytics receive HUBZone certification
MEC-Leesburg members BRC International Corp and Catalyst Operations & Analytics LLC have received their HUBZone certification. The Small Business Administration manages the HUBZone program, a certification with both office geographic location and employee profile requirements. Once certified, companies are able to gain access to a specific set of Contracting set-asides. Krag Reinertson, Principal at BRC International, said, "I wanted to thank you for assisting us in [getting HUBZone certified]. You were a life saver!" Catalyst Operations & Analytics received their certification faster than any other MEC company, says Susan Henson, MEC-Leesburg Regional Director.   "Because MEC-Leesburg is in a HUBZone, we have specialized expertise, contacts at SBA, and programming to assist small government contractors as they seek their certification and successfully grow their companies."
Northrop Grumman speaker talks at MEC-Leesburg
The MEC in Loudoun conducts Contractor Chat events in partnership with the Town of Leesburg Economic Development. The meetup provides insights into federal contracting, and it allows companies to connect with potential teaming partners in an interactive, educational format. October's session featured Carla Undurraga, Sector Manager for Global Supplier Diversity Programs and Small Business Liaison Officer for Northrop Grumman Technology Services. Undurraga shared key information with 60+ attendees on how HUBZone designees can partner with Northrop Grumman.
MEC Leesburg gains seven new members
Since August, the MEC-Leesburg team has onboarded NiyamIT, Integrity Technology Group, Fullerton & Knowles, ManMade Creative, SDS Advisors, QRS LLC, and Colvin Run Networks. MEC-Leesburg Regional Director, Susan Henson, said, "MEC-Leesburg continues to see strong interest in our programs due in large part to the success we have in grooming and graduating companies." Between January and July 2018, MEC-Leesburg welcomed 22 new member companies and graduated 28. Of those graduates, 64% (18) remained in Loudoun County, half of whom landed in Leesburg.
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VBOC offers Business on Tap
Each year, CBP offers peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities, and this year the VBOC stepped up its game by offering Business on Tap, a MasterClass series for the military community, all era Veterans, active duty, National Guard, Reservists, and military spouses. A MasterClass is a course given to students of a particular discipline by an expert of that discipline, to develop skills in that area, in this case entrepreneurship and business ownership. Our line-up of experts included Casey Jones (Fair Winds Brewing Company), Abe Kamarck (True Made Foods) with Emily McMahan (Capitol Post), Suzie Mills (Honest Soul Yoga), Mike Ross (Beanstalk), Elizabeth and Rick Myllenbeck (Sonoma Cellar), and Fred Wellman (ScoutComms).. Read more
Do not miss Business in the Brewery
Fair Winds Brewing is kicking up a celebration on Small Business Saturday, November 24, from 2:00 to 5:00.  A small-business tradeshow, Business in the Brewery will feature locally-owned, small-scale production businesses and mom & pop retailers in the Greater Springfield area.  There will be live music, food to purchase, and tours of the back-of-the-house at Fair Winds. It's a great way to Shop Small and Shop Local early for the holiday season. Fair Winds is located at 7000 Newington Road, Suite K, Lorton, VA 22079. (
Jan Dalton explains why branding comes first
Many companies jump right into marketing and miss the critical step of understanding their brand. In this session, Jen Dalton addressed a full house of participants with the key steps in the branding process, how critical it is to define brand strategy, and what it means to an organization. She shared what key questions need to be answered before launching any marketing campaign or effort. If the branding is off, then without a doubt the marketing efforts will suffer.  Colmoni Catering again provided a delicious three-course lunch.
MEC-Fairfax welcomes She-EO
She-EO provides tools and training to help young ladies lead and succeed in life and business.  Even though women are starting more businesses, they are not growing their business, they are not receiving investments equal to their male counterparts, and they are not invited to join boards or being paid their fair share.  She-EO's goal is to tell her, while she's young, that she can and then show her how.
MEC-Fairfax welcomes SisterSpun
SisterSpun stories introduce fantastical fiction, wondrous words, and imaginative illustrations to young readers.  Santa's Red Bathtub, for example, uses the traditional North Pole icons to create a journey involving problem-solving, social responsibility, and cultural norms. The Boy and the Tree tells an endearing tale of a young immigrant's life-changing experience that leads to celebrating ties to the past, nurturing new roots, and embracing the joys ahead.  Founder Heather Gray chose the MEC-Fairfax because, "As residents of Fairfax City, we want a comfortable and convenient place to collaborate that we can walk to, MEC-Fairfax offers many support services that we can take advantage of, and the flexible leasing terms allow us to focus on our work and not stress over long-term commitments."
MEC-Fauquier welcomes Formal Traditional
Formal Traditional, a commercial and residential interior design firm, has taken up residence in MEC-Fauquier.  Principal Designer Yaron Linett explained, "We were looking for a Main Street address, and after researching all the options there was no question.  The staff, the support, and the flexibility at MEC are unparalleled."  Formal Traditional offers a full range of design services, in-house custom artistry including faux-finishing, hand renderings, sculpture, and furniture design as well as consultative services and staging.
Warrenton CoWorking Underground grows in popularity
The CoWorking Underground at MEC-Fauquier continues to expand.  Since its inception, the clients using the co-working area has grown more than three times over recent months. With the high-speed internet, dedicated workspace, convenient location, and affordable pricing, the co-working environment is becoming a popular alternative for many Fauquier County residents.
SBA presents international trade best practices
The International Council for Small Business  and SBA's Office of International Trade presented "Putting Together an SME Ecosystem:  International Best Practices."  This full-day seminar targeted policy makers, economic development practitioners, educators, and resource stakeholders interested in  how SBA leverages public-private partnerships and resource partners to serve small businesses.  In addition to learning about growth through exporting and  connecting small businesses to global markets, the participants engaged in a lively and informative discussion on procurement, counseling and training, financing, disaster recovery, and the regulatory environment.  Presenters incuded Aaron Miller, International Trade Manager, Virginia SBDC Network.
National Veterans Small Business Week launched
SBA Administrator Linda McMahon and  U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie announced a new pilot program between SBA and VA that will offer intensive management and leadership training for Veteran entrepreneurs.  In addition, the upcoming National Veterans Small Business Week will be celebrated, November 5 through 9. This year's theme, "Our Veteran Business Community" will highlight specific aspects of the Veteran business community, ranging from aspiring to current Veteran and military business owners, including organizations that provide entrepreneurial training.;