Sacramento, the capital of the sixth largest economy in the world, has long been known as a “government town.” Over the last few years however, thanks to the dedicated efforts of passionate community members, Sacramento is in the midst of a transformation that is rapidly advancing our startup ecosystem.
The instigators of this revolution range from volunteer startup community builders championing grassroots programs to Mayor Kevin Johnson proposing visionary initiatives to local business leaders coordinating efforts to support entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.
The Sacramento startup ecosystem began to gel and mature over the last few years with the addition of new coworking and maker spaces, meetup groups, and hackathons. In addition to grassroots efforts from entrepreneurs and startup champions, both local government and business are now making strong, committed efforts to catalyze Sacramento’s innovation economy and these efforts are about to boost entrepreneurship and innovation in Sacramento to new levels.
In the past year alone we’ve seen the formation of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council who has already scored some significant wins by attracting startups to Sacramento from Silicon Valley, other states and from as far away as China.
In his January State of the City address, Mayor Kevin Johnson outlined a vision to establish the Mayor’s Office for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MOFIE) as well as a $10 Million City Innovation Growth Fund, recently approved by the City Council, that focuses resources on the three distinct capital program areas:
The City has committed up to $1Million in RAILS (Rapid Acceleration, Innovation & Leadership in Sacramento) grants for groups that drive acceleration, innovation & leadership for startups. On Nov 1, the Sacramento City Council unanimously approved the first cohort of RAILS grants recipients.
The City is allocating $1 Million in pre-seed investments for local Startups with $25,000 to $250,000 grants.
The City is allocating $2 Million in a strategic investment fund, investing $2 Million in global accelerator "500 StartUps" to invest in local startups.
The Mayor’s office has further outlined a vision to develop innovation zones that provide physical space and resources for entrepreneurs such as a medical innovation zone that builds on the already existing med tech and healthcare industries in Sacramento. In addition to med tech, non-profit acceleration programs for ag tech and clean tech are active in the region. There is even a new group that brings those interested in drone technology together.
Now more than ever, community members and leaders such as MOFIE, Greater Sacramento Economic Council, new accelerator and incubator programs, education programs, along with StartupSac.com’s initiative to connect the fabric of the startup community are working to coordinate efforts and catalyze our entrepreneurial ecosystem.
GEW Sacramento came about from community members and MOFIE’s determination to celebrate and raise awareness about Sacramento’s innovation ecosystem. We’ll be kicking off GEW early with Startup Weekend Sacramento on Nov 11 - 13. The marquis event for the region is the Impact Global Venture Summit on Nov 14 that will join students, entrepreneurs, and investors for Northern California's largest technology conference in the brand new Golden 1 Center, the most high tech arena in the world! During the week there will be many smaller events such as 1 Million Cups, Startup Grind, Startup Hustle Demo Night, several workshops, and a full slate of activities at Sacramento State including “The Pitch,” an event where students will present startup business ideas.