Prince William County Serious Game-Design Incubator Doubles Its Footprint as Demand From Technology Startups Rises

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Provided by Prince William County

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Prince William County and George Mason University (Mason) – Science & Technology Campus today celebrated the Grand Re-Opening of the Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI), which has doubled in space to help meet the rising demands of information technology (IT) start-up entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. The VSGI offers business incubation in the high-level technology fields of simulation, modeling and serious game design into new industries, such as healthcare; education; defense; business decision-making; and cyber-security.

Since opening in March 2014, the VSGI is presently home to eight start-up businesses that have collectively created over 70 jobs, multiple patents, copyrights, innovative simulation and game solutions and over $1 million in corporate support. The additional 4,000 square-foot space allows VSGI to expand services to new IT startups while retaining early-stage companies that are expanding, yet still require the concentration of business incubation services within the Institute. Some of the early-stage companies are expected to complete business incubation in 2016.

The Institute expansion consists of new product development labs, research space, office studios and a lounge area and modernized conference room and kitchen amenities. The newly refurbished space is designed to further stimulate intellectual inquiry and creativity in a social think tank setting, which is part of the shared-learning environment that the university-based business incubator cultivates.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Scott M. Martin, Mason Computer Game Design and VSGI Founding Director said: “Today’s expansion is a milestone achievement for the Virginia Serious Games Institute, which has been made possible through the strength of our public-private and community partnerships here in Prince William County and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

“In Innovation Park and throughout Prince William County we are encouraging technological innovation, growth and expansion. VSGI is committed to graduating these young entrepreneurs through the business accelerator to establish stand-alone businesses and new jobs here in the County,” said Corey A. Stewart, Chairman, Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

The VSGI mission is to support Mason’s entrepreneurial and innovation goals by cultivating and supporting Mason founded startups, rapid prototype development, high-value knowledge job creation and regional economic development through serious game technology discovery to improve human condition.

The Institute offers new business incubators cutting-edge game design research and development, access to visualization and simulation software, training, product development, business support and rapid-prototyping. Each new business to enter the VSGI is provided access to business plan writers, advisors and mentors, as well as legal support and IP consulting services from Sheppard Mullins LLP, banking support from John Marshall Bank, and external server-farm support from LeaseWeb USA Inc. and VSGI partnered companies. In return for a nominal rent, businesses are provided with a studio office, state-of-the-art telecommunications and data services, a receptionist and concierge services, kitchenette and a conference room and social area. Lastly, resident startups have access to a talented Mason student intern and potential graduate employee pool, and free parking for clients and guests.

At the event, Martin detailed the growing demand for space, stating: “The expansion marks the Institute’s initial efforts to keep up with the growing demand from entrepreneurs to access the $80 billion game design industry. Longer term, we are working on innovative solutions to be able to continue our trajectory of generating new companies, new economies and well paid jobs of the future.”

Every year the VSGI invites applicants to reside in the business incubator located on Masons’ Science and Technology Campus in Innovation Park, Prince William, Virginia. Business incubator applicants are considered on how well their business plan or proposal encompasses the development of product software, hardware or IT services and financial feasibility. Merit is given to businesses or initiatives with projects or concepts that add significant value in the realm of research, development and innovation to industry. An Advisory Board of distinguished investors and industry experts judge and select the qualifying candidates.

Current business residents of the VSGI are: American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP); Catlilligames; Little Arms Studios, Professions Quest LLC; Scriyb; Starlift Games; Stillwell Technology & Robotics; and Wyvern Interactive. In April 2015, Professions Quest, launched its flagship title Mimycx, a massively multi-player online serious game dedicated to revolutionizing knowledge exchange throughout the healthcare industry; specifically in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, public health, allied health and veterinary colleges. Click here for a preview of Mimycx. Another of VSGI’s companies, Little Arms Studios, also announced last year its flagship title Interactive Virtual Incident Simulator (IVIS), a state-of-the-art firefighting training simulator that brings to market the most advanced simulation of real fire and smoke behavior in a set of diverse structural fire scenarios.

To learn more about VSGI and entrepreneurial opportunities visit, VSGI Representatives at: Booth # 409 at the I/ITSEC 2015 Conference or contact Dr. Scott M. Martin, Founding Director, VSGI at: Tel: (703) 627-4719, [email protected] , or James Casey, Senior Project Manager, VSGI at Tel: (703) 598-9480, [email protected] or visit the website: http://game.gmu.edu/sgi/sgi-excellerator

 

In October 2013, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors granted $32,000 from the County Economic Development Opportunity Fund to the George Mason University (Mason) Foundation Inc., to help secure the establishment of VSGI. Emerging companies that are chosen to reside in the VSGI will receive business assistance services through the Prince William County Department of Economic Development as well as from Mason.

Ideally situated in Prince William County’s Innovation Park, a collaborative epicenter of corporate and university-research and technology, VSGI is housed in a core blend of teaching, research, faculty and administrative offices in Room 147, Bull Run Hall, 10900 University Boulevard, Manassas, VA 20110.

The VSGI offers Virginia schools, businesses and universities with hands on training, certification, R&D assistance, business incubation services, access to leading edge technology, rapid prototype development and market commercialization.

VSGI has the potential to house up to 10 startups and has gained industry-wide recognition from private IT sector partners like Microsoft Studios, Google Glass, Boeing, the Entertainment Software Association and the Northern Virginia Technology Council, to name a few. Part of the Commonwealth’s growing computer modeling and simulation portfolio, the VSGI supports the demand for skills and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and the growing momentum in entrepreneurial computer game design in the Mid-Atlantic region, by hosting summer camps and workshops for younger students.

VSGI is affiliated with the Serious Games Institute, which is an operating division of the University of Coventry in the United Kingdom, MDA SGI Singapore, SGI (Northwestern) South Africa and SGI at Murdock University in Perth, Australia. The benefits of this collaboration include international outreach for products and services and shared disciplines to expand and augment discoveries.

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