ORANGE, Calif. (November 29, 2011)  — Chapman University is launching an eVillage facility housing professional dedicated resources for entrepreneurs and startup companies. Chapman’s eVillage will feature an accelerator named K5launch and access to other start-up resources. The eVillage is hosted by Chapman’s Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics. A grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony and luau is scheduled for early 2012.

“By collocating resources, ideas, knowledge and relationships, entrepreneurs learn quickly and accelerate their success,” said Richard Sudek, Ph.D., director of Chapman’s Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics, as well as chairman emeritus of Tech Coast Angels. “Combining Chapman’s entrepreneur efforts with K5 accelerator will form a nucleus in Southern California for entrepreneurship.”

K5Launch is an accelerator for early-stage, technology-driven startups. What makes K5Launch unique is that it is run by successful entrepreneurs and investors themselves. The accelerator provides a mentorship-driven seed stage investment program over a three-month period. Companies are selected among hundreds of candidates to build their product and get ready for their next milestones including funding. While the initial physical location will be at Chapman’s eVillage, K5Launch will also work with other Southern California universities.

 “K5Launch is part of the K5 initiative that promotes a community wide platform to impact the creation and development of 1,000 companies in the next five years,” said Amir Banifatemi, founder of K5.

K5Launch has two additional founders: Raymond Chan, and Kai Tao.  The idea was generated when the founders realized that Southern California, and specially Orange County had the human talent and the resources, but not the entrepreneurial connection like Silicon Valley or New York.

“Orange County startups and entrepreneurs are connected through networking affiliations,” Banifatemi said.  “But there are not enough action-based programs like accelerators. Chapman is doing it at the academic level and we are doing it at the community level – this partnership will ideally create a nucleus for Southern California entrepreneurs.”

K5Launch accelerator is also open to college age undergrads or businesses already starting up—any company can apply. Entrepreneurs in K5Launch will also be provided with all the necessary resources, such as funding, legal and financial advice to build their products and validate market opportunity. Upon completion of K5Launch, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch their projects to an extensive network of investors. K5Launch will begin accepting applications on in November 2011 for the 2012 Winter program.

About the Ralph W. Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Ethics

Established in 1995, Chapman University’s Leatherby Center offers one of the nation’s most respected programs for entrepreneurial young men and women.  The center aims to prepare and inspire principled, dynamic entrepreneurs whose ideas improve lives and solve important problems.  Through innovative courses and real-world leadership, the center provides students with access to a range of resources, including professional mentoring, entrepreneurial internships, a multi-university network, community resources, events, speakers, research, professional groups, competitions and boot camps. Ranked as the #6 Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program by Business Week, the Leatherby Center is unique in its approach to connecting students with inventors, investors and real-world entrepreneurs. For more information, visit

Consistently ranked among the top universities in the West, Chapman University provides a uniquely personalized and interdisciplinary educational experience to highly qualified students. Our programs encourage innovation, creativity and collaboration, and focus on developing global citizen-leaders who are distinctively prepared to improve their community and their world. Visit

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