In its fifth year, Chapman University’s invite-only California Dreamin’ Business Plan Competition continues to evolve. Teams are competing for opportunities to partner with prestigious Angel Investor Groups, an appearance on a business television show, and a scholarship to Draper University, in addition to the handsome cash prizes and equity investment prizes. The competition takes place over two days starting April 22, with 30 schools registered to participate.

“The purpose of California Dreamin’ has always been – and will continue to be – student learning and preparation for the real-world of startups and investors,” said Shan Steinmark, Ph.D., director of Chapman University’s Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics and Chair of California Dreamin’. “Therefore, as much as possible, we want the competing student teams to have the first-hand experience of presenting to experienced entrepreneurs, industry executives, and accredited investors.”

portrait of a professor

The California Dreamin’ Competition is a nationwide entrepreneurially-focused higher education competition featuring three tracks: The Business Model Pitch, The Business Narrative Competition, and The 90-Second Fast Pitch Competition. Each track will have five place winners, which means up to 15 schools can walk away with cash.

Something new this year is a competition called “The Raise,” which will take place the evening just prior to California Dreamin’. It is a gameshow format taking place on a soundstage in Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, complete with a live studio audience and film crew. Three student startup teams from Chapman will compete for the opportunity to represent Chapman in the California Dreamin’ competition. More information can be found at

The California Dreamin’ Competition boasts participating universities from across the nation, including the University of Hawaii, Purdue, and even the Air Force Academy. 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. In 2015, top place winners raised nearly $1 million in cash and equity investments. This year, the prize offerings have increased across several dimensions including public relations and television appearances, partner fund and investment opportunities, and Angel Group investment opportunities.

This year’s competition includes several innovations:

  • “The Raise” gameshow to determine Chapman’s representative in the competition
  • A Keynote Panel moderated by Jesse Draper, creator and star of “The Valley Girl” TV show
  • Broader, deeper involvement from leading Angel Groups and Investment Funds
  • Hosting of all events at Chapman’s newly remodeled LaunchLabs facility
  • Greater networking opportunities for participating student teams with entrepreneurs, executives, and investors

“We are very excited about these innovations and we look forward to continuously improving the student experience each and every year,” said Alex Jewett, manager at The Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics.

Here is a brief video showcasing the California Dreamin’ Business Plan Competition:

For more details on the competition, visit:

Angel partners include: OC Tech Coast Angels, Private Capital Network, and ArchAngels.

Main Sponsors include: IOC Ventures (lead sponsor), Microsemi, Draper University, Silicon Valley Bank, Vistage, EyeOnBusiness, and PeacefulBusines.

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. The Leatherby Center is unique in its approach to connecting students with inventors, investors and real-world entrepreneurs. For more information, visit

About Chapman University

Consistently ranked among the top universities in the West, Chapman University attracts highly qualified students from around the globe. Its programs are designed to encourage leadership in innovation, creativity and collaboration, and are increasingly recognized for providing an extraordinary educational experience. The university excels in the sciences and humanities, business and economics, educational studies, film and media arts, performing arts, and law. Student enrollment in graduate and undergraduate programs is approaching 8,000 and Chapman University alumni are found throughout the world. Visit us at

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