in reply to Is it possible to mimic mod_perl like startup for CGI?
Apart from trying to persuade them to use mod_perl ;-) have you had a look at CGI::SpeedyCGI? I've not used it, so I can't endorse it, but it seems to be close to what you're looking for and is described in this YAPC 2001 paper. Another persistent Perl environment I'm aware of is PPerl. Another general approach to speeding up CGI is FastCGI.