Calling All Dreamers Business Competition Now Open

5th Annual contest launches to help entrepreneurs dreaming of starting a business in the city they love

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (March 6, 2017) — 

Downtown Sacramento Foundation (DSF) today called all dreamers to launch their dreams into reality by submitting an application for a business start-up package to open in downtown Sacramento. Applications for the 5th Annual Calling All Dreamers competition will be accepted online at through 5 p.m. PST Monday, April 10, 2017. 

“The Calling All Dreamers competition is an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs to refine their ideas and realize their dream of opening a business,” said Valerie Mamone, Business Development Senior Manager of Downtown Sacramento Partnership. “With all of the excitement and activity happening downtown, this is a uniquely opportune time for a new retailer to tap into downtown’s growing market. There really has never been a better time to open a business in downtown Sacramento.”

The Calling All Dreamers competition is open to new start-up businesses, businesses outside the City of Sacramento or existing businesses in the City of Sacramento hoping to expand and/or open a new concept. The Shark Tank-style competition takes qualified applicants through a business development program that calls for extensive business planning, market research, proof of financial sustainability, and more.

A special selection committee is formed by DSF to work closely with the candidates to evaluate market potential, viability, uniqueness and preparedness of each concept. Ultimately, the committee will select the one ideal candidate to win the prize to assist the successful launch of their downtown Sacramento storefront. The prize package valued at nearly $100,000 includes cash and in-kind services from contest sponsors ranging from marketing and interior design to accounting, legal services and more. For complete guidelines, prize package and contest rules, visit

This competition is the essence of economic development. By design, Calling All Dreamers is directly enhancing the retail and business environment in downtown Sacramento by encouraging an increasing number of entrepreneurs to choose downtown as the home for their business. The competition is often the inspiration to take the leap of faith into small business ownership. The resources and support gained by competing for the grand prize helps each dreamer inch closer to opening their doors; equipped with the resources necessary to be successful.

Now in its fifth year, Calling All Dreamers has helped 15 businesses open; created 20 full-time and 57 part-time jobs; and, leased more than 18,000 sq. ft. In 2016 alone, five dreamers opened a storefront – three within the downtown district served by Downtown Sacramento Partnership.

Since the inaugural Calling All Dreamers competition launched in 2013, DSF has worked with nearly 100 aspiring entrepreneurs. 2016 Calling all Dreamers Grand Prize winner Oblivion Comics & Coffee will open at 1020 11th Street this spring. A coffee shop that will feature new, vintage and independent comics paired with craft coffee from Chocolate Fish and artisanal toast, Oblivion Comics & Coffee co-owners Laura Benson and Neil Estaris were inspired by the DC Comic book universe’s Oblivion Bar where all superheroes and villains are equal and share the same space, geek or not.

Keep up with some of the Calling All Dreamers businesses who have launched their dreams into reality:


Andy’s Candy ApothecaryAllspicery | Benjamins Shoes | The Dailey Method | Figs and Feta | Metro Juice | Off the Chain Bike Bus Tours | Sun & Soil Juice | Studio Fig | Whired Wine


Applications are now available online at and will be accepted through April 10 at 5 p.m.

PRESS: To coordinate coverage and schedule interviews, contact Jordyn Anderson at [email protected] or 916-287-9961.

The 2017 Calling All Dreamers competition is made possible by the generous support of the following sponsors who continue to be champions for the economic growth of the Downtown core and the Sacramento region: City of Sacramento Economic Development Department, SMUD, LJ2 Interiors, Smith, McDowell & Powell, Brown Fink Boyce & Astle, LLP, Marquee Media, Inside Publications, T-Rock Communications, TDogg Studios and SCORE.


About Downtown Sacramento Foundation

Established in 2011, Downtown Sacramento Foundation (DSF) is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 that supports programs that complement Downtown Sacramento Partnership priorities to improve the economic, physical, cultural and social environment in order to foster civic pride.

About Downtown Sacramento Partnership

Downtown Sacramento Partnership is a nonprofit, property-based improvement district (PBID) that serves as the collective voice for the 176 property owners and more than 400 businesses located within the 66-block urban core of Sacramento. Driven by the mission to build value downtown, Downtown Partnership is the principal advocate, champion and steward for those who work, live, visit and do business here. For more information, visit + and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.