Downtown Sacramento Foundation is ‘Calling All Dreamers’ to Submit Innovative Business Concepts Starting July 26

(July 8, 2021) – Downtown Sacramento Foundation (DSF) is encouraging aspiring entrepreneurs to submit their big ideas in the exciting annual Calling All Dreamers retail business competition for a chance to win a coveted business start-up package valued at nearly $100,000 – including $20,000 in cash – to open a storefront in downtown Sacramento. Applications can be submitted online at beginning Monday, July 26, 2021, through 5 p.m. PST on August 16, 2021.

Downtown Sacramento Foundation is making the first step of small business ownership easier for aspiring entrepreneurs by providing much-needed start-up support. The competition is designed to help transform big ideas into retail reality and/or help existing businesses looking to expand or open a new concept in downtown Sacramento. Selected applicants will participate in a business development program that calls for extensive planning, market research, proof of financial sustainability and Shark Tank-style final pitch.

Leading the contestants through the process is a special selection committee formed by the Downtown Sacramento Foundation, including prominent business owners and SCORE volunteers who help refine business concepts and improve business acumen. Ultimately, the committee will select the most unique and viable candidate to receive the prize package 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 support to negotiate leasing terms for a downtown storefront.

Calling All Dreamers is an aspirational program that is more important and relevant than ever before,” said Emilie Cameron, District Affairs & Development Director, Downtown Sacramento Partnership. “This competition spurs economic prosperity by providing the opportunity and resources for someone ready to open the business of his/her dreams, maybe ideas that took root over the course of the last year. We look forward to exploring any and all fresh new ideas that will help to further reinvigorate the retail mix and vibrancy of downtown.”

Since 2013, Calling All Dreamers has continued to drive economic growth in the heart of the Sacramento region. While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted some of the past winners of the program, Calling All Dreamers has helped to launch more than two dozen local businesses.

Each year, Calling All Dreamers contestants compete for a coveted business start-up package that is designed to provide the winner with essential resources and helpful tools needed to successfully launch a downtown storefront. In addition, DSF helps the winning entrepreneur navigate a variety of challenges faced by many business owners during their first year in business.

Economic development and small business growth are top priorities for the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, a Property Based Improvement District (PBID) focused on downtown Sacramento and sister organization to the DSF.

The Calling All Dreamers competition is produced by Downtown Sacramento Partnership and made possible by the generous support of the Sacramento Chapter of SCORE and the following 2021 program sponsors: Kaiser Permanente, City of Sacramento – Economic Development Department, Wells Fargo, SMUD, and California Bank of Commerce. The valuable prize package is made possible due to the generous support of sponsors who continue to be champions for the economic growth of the downtown core, including Marquee Media, Mering, Uptown Studios, Inc.,Smith, McDowell & Powell Law Corporation, XSIGHT Productions, Inc., designTECH Interior Design Services, Inc., and many others. Partnership opportunities are still available for local businesses able to donate much-needed accounting, and marketing/website administrative support. Businesses interested in helping to make a difference by donating services should contact Tania Perez Muskopf, Business Development Manager, at [email protected] or 916-442-8575.

Former Calling All Dreamer winners currently operating shops and storefronts in downtown Sacramento include the following: Nash & Proper (2019), NEO Escape Rooms (2018) and The Allspicery (2015). Also, former Calling All Dreamers finalists currently operating shops and storefronts in downtown Sacramento include the following: Leash & Collar, The Kitchen Table and Pure Soul.

For more information about the Calling All Dreamers competition, how to apply and/or how to become a sponsor or donor business, please visit

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