Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 4:49 p.m.
In 1966, the Van Doren brothers started selling shoes in Anaheim. Their small operation boomed and now Vans shoes are a worldwide icon.
About eight years after the Van Dorens opened shop, Jay Longley hung out in his Laguna Beach garage making sandals out of leather and rubber. Eventually, demand for the flip-flips he made, now known as Rainbows, sky-rocketed. Needless to say, if you dream of starting a shoe company -- or any company, really -- Orange County ain't a bad place to do it.
And, Chapman University's Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics seems to agree. That's why they're starting an eVillage facility, which will help local entrepreneurs launch startup companies. The main part of Chapman's addition is a business accelerator called K5launch.
The program is an "intensive three-month mentorship-driven investment program for Southern California based startups," according to K5launch's website.
Aside from the mentorship, the teams that are picked will get up to $25,000 in equity funding. Then, once they've completed the initial phase, the startups will pitch their ideas to a group of investors and venture capital firms, the site says.
Three locals -- Amir Banifatemi, Ray Chan and Kai Tao -- thought up the idea of K5launch.
Banifatemi is quoted in an OC Metro story
saying: "Orange County startups and entrepreneurs are connected through networking affiliations. But there are not enough action-based programs like accelerators."