The Center was endowed by Ralph W. Leatherby in 1994. Ralph, the founding Director of the Center, was an Orange County businessman and the patriarch of the philanthropic Leatherby family. He served as a trustee at Chapman College in the 1980s following a term as chairman of the Advisory Board of the George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics. Ralph was born in 1925 in a small farm town in Iowa and served in World War II as a member of the U.S. Army infantry. He founded the Leatherby Insurance Company in Fullerton, and later UniCare Insurance, which was at one time the largest insurance firm in the county.
Small businesses are the economic engine of the Nation’s economy. Chapman University’s multi-disciplinary academic programs play a crucial part in equipping students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and the community to contribute to the economy and, complementing the academics, the Center provides the essential practicum to complete their education, training and experience.
The Center is a global center of distinction, a center of accomplishment, and a center of accountability, serving as the center of gravity for all things entrepreneurial at Chapman University.
The Center produces business-ready citizens equipped with an entrepreneurial skill set through personalized education, training and experience.
The Center supports our entrepreneurs by providing services and support at no cost to the participants,including: 24/7 collaborative space, administrative support, office supplies, and internet.
In addition to the services, all Center programs are provided at no cost to participants including: the Launch Labs incubator, Keith Pham Business Plan Competition, a speaker series, as well as teambuilding, networking and civic events.
The Launch Labs incubator is a structured program guiding entrepreneurs from idea to business plan. To be considered for this program, please complete the application.