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June 2016

Owner of Franci Cakes, Franci Gire

Owner of Franci Cakes, Franci Gire

Does Your California Business Need a Boost?

Free Santa Clara University Accelerator, Mentor Program Accepting Applications Through July 31

The free business-accelerator program, the California Program for Entrepreneurship (CAPE), is taking applications through July 31.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 1, 2016 – Applications are 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 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. “The goal of CAPE is to help our students develop and launch their good ideas for products or services into thriving businesses."

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