The first budding entrepreneurs to emerge from the Mason Innovation Lab presented their new products and services at Patriot Demo Day 1.0 on Friday, August 1, in Enterprise Hall, Room 278.
The event, which also featured as panelists George Mason University alumni who now operate their own successful businesses, ran from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
The ventures of the lab's students ran the gamut: gourmet tea, mobile device accessories, computer equipment to assist children with autism, a valet parking service on college campuses, a social media marketing firm and others.
"It's undergrad, it's graduate students, it's alumni, it's people with full-time jobs, part-time jobs―it's a lot of what we hoped for and hypothesized might happen," says David J. Miller, the lab's director. "We're happy. We've seen some good things. We've seen success from students in liberal arts, humanities and social sciences, and engineering students as well as business students."
The lab, which opened this summer in the School of Business, helps current and former George Mason students pursue their ideas by providing work space, mentorship and stipends to support projects from the idea stage through the operational stage.
The lab hosted 11 teams for its inaugural session this summer. The students that presented on Friday had the opportunity to demonstrate their products for business professionals in attendance and also receive feedback from three former Mason students who created their own companies.
Raymond Rahbar, BS Finance '04, is the founder and CEO of UberOffices, a company that leases co-working office space around the Washington, D.C., area. Carla Valdes, BA Communication '10, is the founder of Handpressions, a digital gift and keepsake business. Brandon Labman is the CEO of Responsible Outgoing College Students (ROCS), a staffing and recruiting services company that he co-founded when he was a Mason freshman.
"They're all meant to be role models," Miller says. "Here are all these people under 35 who have done pretty good things in a short period of time."