Use Cases

Cupcake Novelties

Cupcake Novelties Client Story Image

Cupcake Novelties is a custom desserts boutique located in Fairfax, Virginia, with offerings ranging from delicious Cupcakes, Cake Pops, Cupcakes in Jars and Cupcake Bouquets to custom Chocolate dipped desserts including Chocolate covered Oreos, Rice Krispie treats, Pretzels, Marshmallows and exclusive Gold dipped Rock candy!

Operating from a private work studio, all desserts are made to order, with nationwide shipping available through 

Founded in August 2011, Farozan Jivraj, the owner of Cupcake Novelties has a degree in Pastry Arts, and enjoys creating delicious works of edible art, with handcrafted details to coordinate with each event and celebration!

Along with thousands of families, her clientele also includes Corporate clients such as Nordstrom, Warner Bros., Universal Studios as well as a number of Event Planners and Coordinators. 

Working with Mason SBDC has been a great experience and the valuable advice received on marketing, finance, and web presence online is being implemented regularly. Thank you for having such a great resource for small businesses!

Dec 2018 | Company – Cupcake Novelties | Counselor: Timm Johnson

Captive Audience Client Story Image

Captive Audience Prevention Training and Recovery Team was established in 2017 by retired US Army Special Forces soldier,  Billy Jensen , to combat the world’s growing problem with kidnapping for ransom, human trafficking, organ trafficking, and modern slavery.

On a hike along the Appalachian Trail in the winter of that year, the question was posed to Billy by a friend, a colleague, “Would you do something epic with me?” Billy’s response? “I have been waiting my entire life for someone to ask me that question.” And so, Captive Audience was born. 

Captive Audience is 365 days of tips and lessons in situational awareness, personal protection, travel security, and critical thinking. It teaches you how to think like an operative and arm yourself with the tools to meet and conquer any situation. 365 Days of Survival is a collection of 365 tips and lessons in critical thinking, decision making, human psychology, wilderness survival, urban survival, natural and man-made disaster survival, situational awareness, social engineering, crisis planning and response, and many more tools designed to make you into a force multiplier.

Captive Audience has a team of crisis responders who specialize in investigations, crisis (hostage) negotiations, and intelligence gathering for facilitating the return of captives and prosecuting criminal networks.

They also have a mental health team in place to provide psychological stabilization to the returnee and help with repatriation into their life and home. 

Based in Reston, Virginia, Captive Audience has formed a growing network of partnerships around the world and our current mission is to make their services available globally.

Captive Audience reached out to the Mason SBDC in September of 2018 for counseling and business development advice. Mason SBDC’s Director and counselor Mr. Timm Johnson has been an invaluable resource and mentor in Captive Audiences business development. Timm has provided mentoring on financing options, marketing options, becoming a Service Disabled Veterans Owned Small Business, and a wide range of other topics. Captive Audience published their first book 360 Days of Survival on the 24th of December, 2018 and is making some giant strides towards profitability and growth thanks to the Mason SBDC.

Mar 2019 | Company: Captive Audience | Counselor: Timm Johnson

Crossroads Tabletop Tavern Client Story Image

“Every Day is Game Night”

-John Hornberger,

owner of

Crossroads Table Top Tavern

With over 1400 board games and an ever-growing number of patrons, Crossroads Tabletop Tavern was Mason SBDC’s featured client for National Small Business Week 2019. The owner of this “Boardgame Tavern, ” John Hornberger, wants people to have a place to play their favorite games and have a great time. John grew up enjoying board games and card games with family and friends and is admirably bringing back the great experience of an old-fashioned game night in the age of digital distraction. It is a refreshing call to “Step away from the screen,” that the customers are happily answering. Over the years John’s love of collecting games (antique and current) and hosting game nights has carried his business concept effortlessly.

Located in downtown Manassas, Crossroads Tabletop Tavern opened its doors in August 2018. There is something, literally, for everyone – be it in food or mirth. His vision of hosting a great time for people, connecting them over food and games is well lived every day. Crossroads is a place where customers can shop for games and play a game before purchase while indulging in delectable fare .

The Restaurant, in which almost everything is hand-made, touts a unique and fun game-themed menu with items like ‘The Sheriff of Nottinghamburger’, ‘Forbidden Desserts’ and so on. Dessert packages come with wine pairings and are kept deliciously local, and there are 16 beers on tap, all of them from Virginia and the immediate DMV area.

John, who has been a Mason SBDC client since 2016, works with Senior Counselor, Bernard Ferret who mentors the business on marketing, web presence, business strategies and much more. The restaurant has shown impressive growth and has created dozens of jobs, with a current staff of 8 full time and 32 part-time employees. The staff of the Tavern is just as invested in the unique and fabulous concept, guiding patrons through new games, while handling waitstaff duties. With rave reviews and great strides in the community, Crossroads Tabletop Tavern is a fantastic addition to downtown Manassas.

Visit this the tavern today for unforgettable customer experience!

As their website states: “We are in the midst of a board game renaissance!!”

June 2019 | Company: CrossRoads Tabletop Tavern | Counselor: Bernard Ferret

Proctor360: A Solution for Online Testing

Proctor 360 Client Story Image

Over the past year, a local entrepreneur, working with the Mason Small Business Development Center team, has been focused on bringing a new approach to the “EdTech” sector. Mr. Ganga Bathula is the CEO and Co-Founder of a Fairfax, Virginia based early stage startup called Proctor360 . This innovative company plans to bring highly secure testing and professional certification proctoring directly to consumers. From the outset, Mr. Bathula and his team sought resources and help from the Mason SBDC and its Director and Senior Business Adviser, Timm Johnson and George Siragusa respectively. Using Lean Startup Principles, both Timm and George began providing advice and guidance regarding a strategic plan that would take Proctor360 from concept to commercialization.

Having worked in the brick and mortar testing and certification space for 25 years, the team at Proctor360 has had the benefit of perspective. The problem had been integrity and security. They also saw the early indicators of change. They have seen how the industry drivers begin to shift even exam testing more toward the convenience and flexibility of the online economy.

Up to this point, stringent processes, applicable technology and security requirements from schools, universities and companies were not yet robust or available. Continue Reading…

Proctor 360 Client Story Image 2

Sep 2019 | Company: Proctor360 | Counselor: George Siragusa

Board & Brush Client Story Image

From the outside, it looks like a charming shop with an artsy feel. Once inside, there’s no mistaking this is a place for creativity to blossom, DIY confidence to take hold, and memories to be made. The Fairfax, Va., Board & Brush Creative Studio, located at 11215 Lee Highway, is celebrating its 2 nd anniversary in business, complete with a birthday celebration on Saturday, January 22nd from 6-9 pm.

There will door prizes, a free hand towel for each registered guest to make, cake and champagne to mark the special occasion. All guests must be registered to attend. For more information on the studio and to sign up for a workshop to create your own home décor piece register for of art, log on to:

The Fairfax studio is the first of three (the others are in Ashburn and Fredericksburg) for wife-and-husband owners Raquel and Andy Gladieux, both service-disabled veterans who served in the Navy for a combined 36 years. The couple honed their DIY skills while … click to continue reading

Board & Brush Client Story Image 2

Dec 2019 | Company: Board and Brush | Counselor: Timm Johnson

Intergalactic Education Client Story Image

Intergalactic Education is a software company that teaches kids about science, math, and the future. We have a strong focus on getting more young girls and disadvantaged minorities interested in engineering and technology. Our team has developed over a dozen educational computer games that motivate students through the use of incentives and competition. Students compete across schools for high scores while new game content unlocks upon completion of the different educational modules. We improve test scores while simultaneously helping…

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Mar 2020 | Company: Intergalactic Education | Counselor: Timm Johnson

But you can call us CCI!

Cheshil Consultants Client Story Image

“CCI was able to narrow down the search, select a company, apply for the loan, and receive the funds in our checking account within a week.”

CCI is a small, minority business located in Springfield, VA. The company was started almost 40 years ago by our founder and president, Chetan Bhimani (but you can call him Chet!) Chet brings to the table countless years of experience in the IT industry and his expertise has transformed the company into a Custom Web-Based Database Development and Staffing business. 

Whether you are looking to improve your company’s business management process efficiency, or find the perfect short-term or long-term staff person, CCI can provide you with an affordable solution.

Click to continue reading…

Core Team at CCI

 … our staff has been working diligently during the current crisis to keep the business running smoothly, and to keep us growing. 

Jun 2020 | Company: Chesil Consultants Inc. | Counselor: Timm Johnson

Amy Peltier Interior Design & Home

Amy Peltier Interior Design & Home Client Story Image

Amy Peltier Interior Design & Home offers family-friendly residential interiors with a unique design perspective. They assist clients with a variety of projects, ranging from furnishings to entire remodels, additions, and new construction.

With almost 20 years of interior design experience and offices located on both the East and West Coast, Peltier Interiors is comfortable, and family focused while still displaying style and refinement. Known for her preppy style infused with a dose of California casual, Amy Peltier procures interiors that are a little classic, a little modern and always fresh.

As owner and founder….continue reading

Sep 2020 | Company: Amy Peltier Design and Home | Counselor: George Siragusa

Matthew’s Center

Matthew's Center Client Story Image

“I worked with Namrata on a weekly basis for a couple of months reviewing our current business plan and creating a new one focused on growth”

Matthew’s Center is a non-profit, education-based organization focusing on communication & social skill instruction for autistic students. The Center believes autism affects the entire family and offers programming to provide maximum support to the family as a whole.

I contacted Mason SBDC in the Fall of 2020. 

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Matthew's Center Brandy Moss Headshot Image


Mar 2021 | Company: Matthew’s Center | Counselor: Namrata Maguire

Grooming with Grace

Grooming with Grace Client Story Image

“Bernard even knew about vehicles and was able to give us advice when it came to selecting a grooming van.”

We thought we had everything it takes: skills, education,
a great name, funding sources and real enthusiasm. What were we missing?  The know-how. We were getting closer to realizing our dream of a mobile pet grooming business but didn’t know what to do next. 

Click Continue Reading


Mar 2021 | Company: Grooming with Grace | Counselor: Bernard Ferret

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