George Mason University is helping to support small businesses in Spotsylvania County.

The Spotsylvania regional office of the Mason Enterprise Center opened Thursday. Like the Fairfax Mason Enterprise Center it will serve as a small-business incubator, offering both office space for lease and crucial business counseling programs.

“There’s a lot of movement of people and business up and down the I-95 corridor. It made a lot of sense to open up a facility in Spotsylvania because there are a lot of businesses that do business with the military,” said Keith Segerson, executive director of the Mason Enterprise Center at the Office of Research and Economic Development.

The Spotsylvania MEC is the latest of several regional offices to open in Manassas, Woodbridge, and Springfield. “We have opened up regional offices strategically around Virginia in areas that have strong business growth potential,” Segerson said.

“We have a good track record,” said Jody Keenan, managing director of the Fairfax MEC. “Businesses that work with the Mason Enterprise Center tend to grow faster and create more jobs than other businesses in general.”

Although they operate under strict confidentiality and cannot name the companies they work with, Keenan said that over 30 successful businesses have graduated from the MEC.

The original Mason Enterprise Center opened in 1995 on University Drive in Fairfax. It is a center where aspiring entrepreneurs and start-up companies can access Mason’s academic resources to help get their business off the ground.

It also offers Mason students a chance to get practical business experience.

“We don’t put students directly in front of companies, but they support our full-time professional business counselors,” Keenan said. “We [also] get a lot of inquiries from students, recent graduates or alums who are looking to start a business.”

Most of the programs, such as legal guidance and business planning, are free or require a nominal fee.

Participants also gain access to “Friends of Mason,” a network of professional consultants that work with the university, according to their website.

For now, the Mason Enterprise Center in Spotsylvania is operating as an incubator, leasing office space to companies that meet its requirements. According to Keegan, business counseling from the university is available upon request.

The MEC in Spotsylvania is also receiving support from Germanna Community College and University of Mary Washington, according to their website. They will be willing to assist with business advice and support, and to get counseling programs started on the premises.