Five Minutes With … Mona Anita Olsen on Our Entrepreneurial Community

Olsen: “Business planning, marketing and finance help technology organizations move forward.”

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Northern Virginia’s tech start-ups are getting a big boost these days, thanks to George Mason University.

Through the Mason Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Mason Enterprise Center – part of GMU’s Office of Research and Economic Development – hundreds of small businesses looking to drive IT innovation get assistance with business plans, marketing strategies, financial analysis, capital access and other needs.

It’s all part of a statewide effort through which more than 4,400 business owners/manager received one-on-one counseling in 2010. Those businesses reaped rewards – specifically an estimated $37 million in loans obtained, $66 million in total capital formation, no less than 4,800 jobs created/retained and $100 million in increased sales. Listen to our conversation about the GMU’s Small Business Development Center.


About our guest: Mona Anita Olsen is the assistant director of the Mason Small Business Development Center.  She is also the founder of iMADdu (“I Make a Difference, Do You?”), an educational nonprofit that provides mentoring and apprenticeship opportunities to aspiring student entrepreneurs.

Previously, Mona worked as a worldwide sales analyst for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. She is a PhD Candidate at the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University, specializing in entrepreneurship education. Awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant to Norway for 2012-2013, Mona will also explore the plausibility of using apprenticeship models to teach about innovation in traditional, university-level entrepreneurship courses.

This interview was hosted by Dennis McCafferty, Director of Content for W2 Communications, high tech PR agency. Find out more about our full service communications offerings. Subscribe to our “Tech Connections: Five Minutes With …” series on iTunes.