In its fourth year, Chapman University’s invite-only California Dreamin’ Business Plan Competition continues to grow, making it the second largest university business plan competition plan in the nation. The competition purse is $300,000 of cash and equity investment in addition to in-kind products, up from $250,000 last year. The competition takes place over two days starting April 24th, with 30 schools invited to participate.

The California Dreamin’ competition is a nationwide entrepreneurially-focused higher education competition featuring three tracks: Full Pitch, 90-Second Fast Pitch, and Case Competition. Businesses presented vary widely in terms of product and service industry orientation. In most cases, the participating teams have already won the internal business plan competitions at their respective universities. Previous winners of California Dreamin’ have gone on to amass further success for their venture.

“The focus this year in California Dreamin’ is to set teams up to build companies, not necessarily just win cash,” said Gene Alexander, Ph.D., director of Chapman University’s student incubator Launch Labs and Chair of California Dreamin’. “We are writing some big checks, but more importantly we are connecting teams with equity investors to raise very significant capital rounds.”

The CA Dreamin’ competition opened up its invites to East Coast universities last year and continues that this year, with Syracuse, Cornell, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill all participating; in addition to the University of Hawaii, the University of Chicago, UCLA, Berkeley, USC, and a slew of universities across the United States. Something new this year is the participation of the Air Force Academy and Johns Hopkins.

Events include:

  • 3 competitions – Full Pitch, Fast Pitch, Business Narrative Competition
  • Speed dating with investors
  • Faculty best practice roundtable
  • Award distribution

Here is a brief video describing the Leatherby Center:

To see a full list of participating schools, agenda, and complete panel of judges, visit:

The California Dreamin’ competition brings together students from top university entrepreneur programs around the country to prove that they have the best business plan. The event, by invitation only, takes place April 24 and 25, 2015, at Chapman University’s campus in Orange, CA, and features 30 schools competing for $300,000 in prize money and potential equity investment, along with connections to venture capital firms. Between the three tracks in the competition, up to 15 schools will walk away with cash.

Angel partners include: Tech Coast Angels, Pacific Capital Network, and Pasadena Angels.

Main Sponsors include: MicroSemi, K5 Ventures, and Hans Imhof.

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 #13 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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On YouTube at: Chapman University YouTube Channel


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