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March 2014

Silicon Valley's Most Egalitarian Startup Accelerator Now Accepting Applications

Applications are being accepted now for the fifth session of CAPE--which is part startup accelerator, part entrepreneur incubator, and part mini-MBA bootcamp.


From Gourmet Hot Dogs to Gaming Apps, Santa Clara University's CAPE Program is Silicon Valley's Most Egalitarian Startup Accelerator  
SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 12, 2014 -- On the cusp of its fifth year of operation, Santa Clara University's California Program for Entrepreneurship (CAPE) has differentiated itself as Silicon Valley's most egalitarian startup accelerator.  And a quite successful one at that.
Applications are being accepted now for the fifth session of CAPE--which is part startup accelerator, part entrepreneur incubator, and part mini-MBA bootcamp.
There are no restrictions on what kind of businesses will be considered – although 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.
“Our goal is to help launch businesses that will employ people and contribute to the growth of the California economy,” said Leavey School of Business Dean S. Andrew Starbird. “We want to be the rising tide that raises all the boats."
 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.  Whether it’s a family business producing portable shower units for the mobility impaired or a line of bio-nutritional soil treatment products for landscapers, CAPE welcomes businesses of all kinds.
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.
 “The CAPE program goes far beyond classroom teaching," says Matt Lehr, who brought his business idea, iCoupon, to CAPE in 2010, and launched the company shortly thereafter. "It provides the real world skills entrepreneurs need to make their start-ups a success.  The mentors they provide are proven leaders in Silicon Valley, and they can help with anything your business may encounter.  It was this program and the people connected with it that helped our venture succeed."  Lehr sold iCoupon and is now working on his second venture, On Point Production.
With more 150 volunteer mentors, judges, guest speakers and panelists supporting the CAPE program, representing finance, marketing, legal, technology, consumer goods, food service and more, CAPE's 2014 session is poised to be its most robust.
"Our goal is to give anyone who has a good idea for a product or service the tools to develop and launch a business," says Daniel Aguiar, executive director of Santa Clara University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which created CAPE in 2010.  
"We encourage all types of enterprises.  Ninety-nine percent of California employers are small businesses, and employ 52 percent of the workforce,” he added. 
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 2014 program, held mostly on weekends over 6 months.  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 2014 CAPE program are due by May 31, 2014.  The program begins in June and runs through November.  Applications are available online 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. The School opened its $49 million building for undergraduate, graduate, and professional business education in Fall 2008. For more information, see
Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121
Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship,CAPE,Leavey School of Business