Accelerator Program Now Looking for 40 Startups

Santa Clara University Accelerator and Mentor Program Accepting Applications Through July 31

Franci Gire, owner of Franci Cakes, is an alumna of the California Program for Entrepreneurship at SCU's Leavey School of Business (courtesy of Santa Clara University)

Attention Start-ups and Entrepreneurs! Applications are now being accepted through July 31 for the seventh session of Santa Clara University's California Program for Entrepreneurship (CAPE) –a program for California businesses that is part startup accelerator, part entrepreneur incubator, and part mini-MBA bootcamp. Unlike most entrepreneurship programs, CAPE is a seven week(over six months), free, and the program takes no equity interest in the businesses it helps to launch. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy,” said Daniel Aguiar, executive director of Santa Clara University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business, which created CAPE in 2010. Aguiar added “The goal of CAPE is to help our students develop and launch their good ideas for products or services into thriving businesses."

Over the seven week program plus virtual classes, students go through things like 

  • Virtual Exercises, Readings & Case Studies
  • Mentor Meetings
  • Bronson Scholar Designation 
  • Focused, Personalized Education on All Aspects of a Professional Plan
  • Expert Business Advisors and Panels
  • Preparation of Professional Pitches 
  • Networking Opportunities

and culminates in a $5,000 Business Pitch Competition.

Photo Courtesy of Santa Clara University


CAPE welcomes all types of businesses, provided they are:
  • Based in California.
  • Deemed by evaluators to be viable.
  • Have the potential to make a positive impact on the community, such as creating jobs or strengthening markets or other community businesses.
CAPE alumni have successfully launched businesses ranging from an online personal stylist to gourmet cupcakes to elder care, as well as more technology-centric enterprises like an off-grid portable solar power station, engineering consulting firms, and mobile apps for retailers.
In its first six years, 185 entrepreneurs have graduated from CAPE, representing 152 ventures.  Of those, more than 70 percent are still active and growing or have had successful exits.
CAPE is supported by more than 150 volunteer mentors, judges, guest speakers, and panelists, representing industries as varied as finance, marketing, legal, technology, consumer goods, food service, and more.
Candidates must apply for the program and provide an overview of their business idea and the market opportunity. Approximately 40 aspiring entrepreneurs will be selected for the 2016 program, held on seven weekends over six months in September through February.  Participants work with business school faculty, coaches, and mentors to refine their business plans, financial models, marketing strategies, and fundraising efforts. The program culminates with a business plan pitch competition and awards ceremony.

Applications for the 2016 CAPE program are due by July 31, 2016.  Applications are available online here.

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