Compiled by Cristina Lee / Times staff writer

Acceleration for Entrepreneurs: UC Irvine's Graduate School of Management has begun signing up small business owners for its new training program for entrepreneurs.

The program, called Accelerate, is targeting new, high-growth small-business ventures with the potential to achieve at least $1 million in annual revenue within five years. Owners of companies that have been in operation from two to seven years are eligible for the program, said Tiffany Haugen, a UCI faculty member who developed the course.

Such companies "are designed to be growing ventures that are expanding, earning more and hiring more people," she said.

The U.S. Small Business Administration says that more than half the nation's start-up businesses fail within their first five years. Haugen said this could be corrected if owners know effective financial planning, creative marketing and how to reposition the business in a changing market.

Accelerate, funded by the university and corporate sponsors from the county, will make available to participants a database that will match them with venture capitalists across the country.

"Our program will service the entrepreneurial community by addressing their problems directly and giving them the tools to grow," said Dennis Aigner, dean of UCI's business school.

Several universities offer similar enterprise programs, including Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and the University of Illinois at Champaign.

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