launch labs

The Leatherby Center

» Launch Labs

The LaunchLabs is the Leatherby Center’s student and alumni incubator/accelerator program. This dedicated space is for entrepreneur teams to mentor and help entrepreneurs and student entrepreneurs with a number of resources and events in and around Launch Labs. Launch Labs is designed for intense 24/7 entrepreneurship. At the Garage we have conference rooms with whiteboards and flatscreens, private and shared office space, open collaboration space and tons of lounge chairs to rejuvenate! 

Apply for the Leatherby Center Student Incubator

Turn your business idea into a reality! At the start of each semester and the summer session we accept applications to be considered for the LaunchLabs program. This will open up the opportunity to have access to resources, mentors, office space and professional guidance from an extensive network of successful entrepreneurs.  The LaunchLabs will provide the necessary tools to propel student and alumni teams towards their goals and aspirations.

 For questions contact Karen Akiyama, Administrative Assistant at the Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship at

Launch Labs FAQ

+ - Who can use Launch Labs?

While Launch Labs is part of Chapman University, located in the West Campus at 549 West Palm Ave., it is a resource for both student and non-student entrepreneurs. We require at least one team member to be a student, grad student, alumni or faculty from Chapman University.

+ - What are some of the resources in Launch Labs?

Alongside providing physical space for startup companies, Launch Labs will offer a number of resources to their entrepreneur teams. First is the large network of mentors, including 75 Entrepreneurs in Residence and 30 Lead Mentors who will be matched to your team when you are accepted into the program. 

+ - What are you trying to accomplish with Launch Labs?

We are trying to improve and connect the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Southern California. We feel that to do that, we have to connect the entrepreneurs, inventors, investors, resources, and the organizations that are entrepreneurial related. The concept is to connect these resources and bring in informal education through the seminars and workshops. By providing a physical place in Orange County entrepreneurs can learn, connect, and be mentored; and ideally improve their chances of acquiring funding and being successful.

+ - Can non high-tech companies go through Launch Labs?

Yes, non high-tech entrepreneurs will still find resources in LaunchLabs that are useful to accelerate their success. 

+ - How do the Chapman University students benefit from Launch Labs?

The benefit for Chapman students is that they get to experience the actual launch of companies. The intent of the program is to greatly benefit and encourage their entrepreneurial aspirations and/or nurture their existing ventures. The incubator/accelerator provides office space, mentoring, and resources (such as attorneys, marketing executives, and CPAs). We will have open office hours for all Chapman students at Launch Labs. So students can always meet with advisors and mentors about their business idea or concept.

  • Another benefit is that Launch Labs is a conduit for students to get hired as interns with the entrepreneurs they work with. After working intensely with the entrepreneurs, it becomes a natural progression to get an internship for college credit or for pay – depending on the funding and the startup company.
  • The last benefit is all the networking involved with the entrepreneurs, advisors and the mentors. So when a student has a business idea, their network expands right away to get them connected with the people to help make their idea become reality.

+ - Where do you see Launch Labs in five years?

We hope to expand the physical space dramatically over the next five years, so that we can increase the student incubator, have more conference rooms, seminar rooms and house more entrepreneurs. Currently, there are no “open office hours” for the community, but we want to look at that possibility of that in the future.

We would hope that both the entrepreneurs and the students who go through and are involved with Launch Labs would come back as they launch their companies and speak to our students and become mentors. This “giving back” will help grow the ecosystem and make it more robust. As more people become successful and come back and help – the more bandwidth and quality we will have in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Immediately, however, Launch Labs will be constantly flush with successful entrepreneurs. There will be Tech Coast Angels members there mentoring people; there will be entrepreneurs in residence mentoring people; people from the Inventors Forum who will deal with patents and intellectual property issues will be there; and we’ll have attorneys involved that will help answer legal issues. So there will be a lot of successful people there that will be accessible to the students and the community.

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Apply for the Student Incubator

We will accept applications for Spring 2016 starting January 18th and ending February 12, 2016. 

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