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Discover Fauquier October 2019
Quality Service Selection
524 Fletcher Drive Warrenton
More Than A Jewelry Store
Join Us for our
October 23
First 20 Customers
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$25 Brighton Gift Certifi cate!
Preview New Fall
Jewelry and Handbags!
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and receive
a gift!
When the Mason Enterprise Center-
Fauquier (MEC-Fauquier) opened on
Main Street in Old Town Warrenton in the
spring of 2014, the goal was for it to act
as an "incubator" for start-up businesses
and existing businesses relocating to
Fauquier County. It continues to live up to
this mission five-and-a-half years later, as
well as to offer a host of resources--many
of them free--to anyone interested.
MEC-Fauquier regional manager Renee
Younes explains that the center's existence
is a result of collaboration between
the Fauquier County Department of
Economic Development and the Board
of Supervisors, both of which continue
to be strong partners. The "Mason" in its
name refers to George Mason University,
which offers business-related seminars
that MEC participants can access.
One of MEC's primary services is available
thanks to its affiliation with the Middletown
campus of Lord Fairfax Community College,
whose Small Business Development
Center (SBDC) provides a counselor that
visits MEC at least twice a month. During
his visits, he provides complimentary
business planning counseling to anyone
who requests it--current or potential
business owners alike. To date, he has
worked with about 375 people.
Renee notes that their collaboration with the
SBDC goes even further. The pair co-hosted
six Brew N Business seminars last spring,
gathering together local merchants who
networked and discussed topics of interest
or concern to them as business owners.
"Enterprise" is literally MEC's middle name,
and it takes it seriously by providing a
variety of resources and services for the
community. For example, three years
ago, MEC was instrumental in launching
Ignite Fauquier, a free, open-to-the-public,
organized discussion group for business
owners, managers, and nonprofit directors
in Fauquier County. It meets monthly,
featuring one business that presents a
current challenge, and the group discusses
possible solutions. The peer-to-peer format
has been a huge success, resulting in
improved processes and practices as well
as relationship-building opportunities for
all attendees.
In addition, MEC is a member of the
Fauquier Chamber of Commerce's
Micro Enterprise Council, whose goals
of connecting and educating entrepreneurs
and micro enterprises to support their
pathway to success perfectly align with
MEC's. Renee will be speaking at their
second annual symposium on October 18.
MEC also realizes the importance of
paying close attention to future business
leaders--local youth. It participates in
Fauquier County Public Schools' annual
high school intern program as well as
in the Fauquier Youth Entrepreneurship
Program (YEP) funded by GO Virginia,
a bipartisan, business-led economic
development initiative that seeks to
change the way Virginia's regions
collaborate on economic and workforce
Of course, MEC stays true to helping
start-up businesses grow and expand
by working with virtual, in-house, and
co-working clients. Virtual clients use
the Main Street address to receive mail,
and as needed, can use conference
rooms--which are also available to
rent by the public. In-house clients use
one of the 12 private offices within the
Old Town site while co-working clients
can choose to have a designated or
undesignated space--the client chooses
depending on how often they need to use
the space. Both in-house and co-working
clients have a key fob that allows them
access to their space 24 hours a day,
7 days a week.
Renee explains that although the concept
of co-working began slowly, it soon
caught on and has grown significantly--
there are 15 current co-workers stationed
at MEC-Fauquier. It's an excellent solution
for various situations: start-up companies;
self-employed people who don't have
reliable internet access at home; and
individuals who work for companies
in Washington, DC, Maryland, or even
overseas, but commute rarely, if at all.
So many opportunities from which
everyone can gain something! To learn
more, call (540) 216-7100.
~ Nancy Griffin-Bonnaire
Mason Enterprise Center-Fauquier:
A Wealth of Opportunities to Thrive
Alice Felts, administrative assistant
and Renee Younes, regional manager