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July 2014

From Respite Care for Seniors to a Facial-Recognition Car Locks: Fifth Class of Entrepreneurs Chosen for Silicon Valley's Egalitarian Startup Accelerator, CAPE

Representatives of 37 California businesses will get crash courses in everything from supply chain management to public relations to finance, as part of Santa Clara University's California Program for Entrepreneurship (CAPE).

 SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 8, 2014 -- For the next six months, representatives from 37 California businesses will get crash courses in everything from supply chain management to public relations to finance, as part of Santa Clara University's California Program for Entrepreneurship (CAPE).

Part startup accelerator, part entrepreneur incubator, part mini-MBA bootcamp, CAPE was started five years ago to give advanced training and mentorship to the full array of small businesses – not just technology startups -- that are the heart of California’s economy. 

“Santa Clara has a long tradition of helping people start businesses and create jobs in Silicon Valley because that is the right thing to do,” said S. Andrew Starbird, dean of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. “The CAPE program is designed to do just that: contribute to economic development and strength of our community by helping entrepreneurs commercialize their ideas."

The newest CAPE class reflects that diverse approach.

Among the entrepreneur students are a nurse hoping to help patients accurately manage their meds; a marketer hoping to help other businesses improve their cultural know-how; and a tech employee hoping to start a new career in fingernail bling. 

Other entrepreneurs attending CAPE have started businesses including:  a mobile, free-wifi service;  a marketplace for carbon-reducing products; a Hispanic lifestyle company with products celebrating Latino culture; underwater gliders for research and data-collection; a smart water heater; an Uber-type car service for air travelers; respite care for seniors; a solar charging station for mass use in emergencies; and smart action figures. 

“The Bay Area is full of people with an entrepreneurial spirit and opportunities to make their dreams happen,” said Franci Gire, who hopes CAPE will help launch her baking business. “CAPE is one of those opportunities, and I hope it will give me the business skills to run and grow a successful company.”

Interviews with the business owners can be arranged with prior notice.

Other facts about the CAPE Class of 2014:

*It’s the largest enrolled group to date, with 50 participants pursuing 37 ventures (compared with the previous largest enrolled group of 2013, with 35 participants pursuing 27 ventures.)
*56 percent (or 28) have no SCU affiliation
*13  are alumni or current students of the Leavey School of Business
*Eight are  School of Engineering Alum/Students
*The most-seasoned business is nearly 20 years old (Jon Jon’s BBQ)

The Cohort will be on campus for the first weekend of training from Friday, July 11 through Sunday, July 13.  They will then work on virtual assignments and readings before returning for their next onsite session August 9 and 10.

Background on CAPE

There are very few restrictions on what kinds of businesses are considered for CAPE:  they must be based in California, must be deemed by evaluators to be realistic and viable, and have the potential to make a positive impact on the community.   Unlike most entrepreneurship programs, CAPE is free, and the program takes no equity interest in the businesses it helps to launch.

CAPE alumni have successfully launched businesses ranging from gourmet hot dogs to elder care as well as more technology-driven enterprises like engineering consulting firms, mobile apps for retailers and online gaming.  In its first four years, 95 entrepreneurs have graduated from CAPE, representing 83 ventures.  Of those, more than 85 percent are still active and growing or have been sold.

CAPE benefits from the contributions of more 150 volunteer mentors, judges, guest speakers and panelists, representing finance, marketing, legal, technology, consumer goods, food service and more.

“We are looking forward to a fantastic CAPE experience this year,” said Daniel Aguiar, executive director of Santa Clara University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which created CAPE in 2010.  “This year’s class has some of the most diverse and thoughtful ideas yet, all of whom aspire to put Californians to work.” 

More on CAPE can be found at
About Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business
The Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University began in 1923, and was one of the first business schools in the country to receive national accreditation. Its undergraduate business, MBA, and Executive MBA programs are consistently ranked among the top in the nation by BusinessWeek, U.S. News, Princeton Review, and others. The curriculum at all levels emphasizes the leadership role of business in creating prosperity within an ethical framework, as well as business responsibilities for social justice and sustainability in the global marketplace. For more information, see
Media Contact

Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121


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