A Mason Enterprise Center Loudoun Success Story

Synergy Systems Group (SSGI) designs, develops, and implements cost effective information systems that enable organizations to achieve their unique marketing and operational objectives. Scott Hall founded the business in 1987; Lynn Korink joined as a partner in 1994. SSGI continues to operate as a small organization with at most five employees at any given time, supported by 1099 contract employees as
needed.

 

The Challenge

The company was looking for an office space and address that resided in the HUBZone to attract government contracts. Scott Hall had been taking courses at the Fairfax PTAC, and some were being offered at Mason Enterprise Center Loudoun (MEC). When he discovered that there was also office space available there, the company moved into the MEC.

 

The MEC Experience

The downtown Leesburg address of the MEC not only provided a key HUBZone location, but also offered the additional benefit of convenience to the town’s restaurants, shops and other amenities. “It was easy to walk to many popular spots in downtown Leesburg and take advantage of what the town has to offer.“ says Hall.
The private office space in Mason Enterprise Center Loudoun also offered a number of benefits for businesses. The front desk staff was attentive and helpful. Other key office amenities, such as high speed printing, wireless and wired internet access, as well as mail capabilities with post office boxes were readily available. The team also appreciated the availability of conference rooms each with speaker phone setups and a training room with video facilities, along with full-service kitchen on each floor.

The community at the MEC was also a surprise bonus that set the facility apart from other office spaces. “As you talk to people in the MEC, you pick up little nuggets.” The spontaneous interactions between members led to opportunities to brainstorm, learn and build networks.

The company also took advantage of attending 1 Million Cups, held in the MEC facility, to connect with other local entrepreneurs. The biggest benefit, however, was what Korink describes as “the ABC’s”. The “A” or Architecture includes the many support areas built into life at the MEC; “B”, or bench or broad array of resources that members have access to as part of their MEC membership; and “C”- the many connections and support available through the center. “Susan Henson is the den mother,” says Hall. “She will find the resources to help you; it doesn’t matter what you need.” In several cases, that has meant leveraging the in-house resources of the Loudoun SBDC. When Hall and Korink were struggling to navigate the HUBZone Certification process, Henson reached out to a contact at the Small Business Administration for clarification regarding several issues. To meet the challenge of how to gain entry into federal government markets, Henson referred the team to the SBDC and their team of business advisors.

Working with Mary Joynt and Eric Byrd, the team was able to evaluate and focus in on a strategy to successfully move forward. Advisor Brian Keating also worked with the duo on navigating both the PPP loan process and identifying financial resources for technology companies as the company dealt with the business impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

 

The Results

“The HUBZone Certification will be critical post COVID in getting SSGI a seat at the table in the Federal space”, says Hall. “In the short term, it has opened doors with prime contractors committed to the SBA’s goal of ensuring 3% of contracts are awarded to HUBZone Enterprises.” Henson was also invaluable during COVID-19, allowing the organization to move from an office into a shared desk arrangement to save money and keep the business moving forward. “This reduced our rent by one third”, said Korink. “This flexibility was pivotal in our strategy to weather the COVID shutdown by reducing costs down during this difficult time for small businesses.” SSGI’s focus on partnering with larger firms that already have substantial contacts within key Federal Agencies – and are continuing to commit substantial resources to marketing in that arena – resulted from their strategy sessions with Eric Byrd and Mary Joynt. Leveraging that strategy, they have identified five Federal Agencies that have demonstrated a continuing need for our services and are targeting primes doing business with each.

The company is also back on course to move into federal market, which is right now stymied because of COVID. “We’ve laid the groundwork to get into the market thanks to the help and support of the MEC and SBDC teams.”