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Cal Poly and Draper University Entrepreneurship Program Partner to Offer Students a Silicon Valley Experience

Cal Poly has announced an agreement with Draper University, a San Mateo-based entrepreneurship program run by venture capitalist Tim Draper, aimed at providing students with an intensive background in the innovative and entrepreneurial character of Silicon Valley.

Beginning in January, up to 24 Cal Poly students will take part in a 10-week program called “Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs.” The experience will include two academic courses taught on Cal Poly’s campus in an intensive three-week format, followed by seven weeks in San Mateo at the Draper program, which aims to help would-be entrepreneurs embrace risk and find the inspiration to innovate.

“This is a unique opportunity for Cal Poly students from all disciplines throughout the university,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “The Draper University program, like Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing approach, fosters creative thinking and teaches students the value of jumping in, doing the work and learning from failure on the way to success.”

Draper University’s residential program features a curriculum designed to advance students beyond their inhibitions and teach them how to harness creativity and inspiration in their entrepreneurial efforts.

The program touches on broad issues such as finance, the legal system, creativity and survival, with courses on varied topics such as venture capital, sales and digital marketing, negotiation, prototyping, and lessons in failure. Along the way, participants network, hone their public speaking skills, develop business and product ideas, and interact with some of Silicon Valley’s brightest minds. At the end of the program students will have the opportunity to pitch their business idea to a panel of angel and venture capital investors.

“We know our hands-on training and access to Silicon Valley innovators provides an experience that can’t be replicated in a university setting,” said Tim Draper, founder of Draper University. “Our program will provide a launch pad for these stellar Cal Poly students to take their business ideas to the next level.”

The “Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs” program is part of a broader focus on entrepreneurship at Cal Poly. The university is also developing plans to expand its Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on campus, as well as the center’s Hothouse business incubator and accelerator program in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Draper is the founder and managing director of Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The company — with more than $7 billion in capital commitments and affiliate offices in more than 30 cities worldwide — has funded many well-known technology companies, including Hotmail, Skype, SpaceX and Tesla Motors.

For more details about Draper University, visit http://draperuniversity.com.

For more on Cal Poly’s “Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs” program, visit: http://extended.calpoly.edu/entrepreneurs/index.html.

Posted Oct 31, 2014

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