Welcome Dreamers

Got a big idea? We want to help you open the business of your dreams!

The first year is usually the most difficult for small businesses with many startups struggling with capital, overhead expenses, permitting processes and the details of actually managing a business.

To make it easier, in 2013 the Downtown Sacramento Foundation launched the Calling All Dreamers competition to support an entrepreneur to bring their dream of opening a downtown storefront to reality. Winners of the annual competition – including Nash & Proper, Neo Escape Rooms and The Allspicery – have quickly become signature small businesses downtown, inspiring new classes of dreamers to pursue their big idea year after year.

Apply NOW!

Until August 16 at 5 p.m., share your big idea by applying for the chance to be downtown’s newest business owner. Please make sure to download the application packet here for key dates, details on application requirements, and official rules and regulations. Click here to fill out the application.

Competition at-a-glance

  • APPLY – Prepare your application, business plan and 60-second video. Applications close August 16.
  • DEVELOP – If selected as a semi-finalist, you will be paired with a business mentor from SCORE to build your concept and refine your winning pitch.
  • WIN – If chosen to continue on as a finalist, you will further refine your business concept, while the public votes for their favorite. Following a final pitch, one winner will be selected.

Starting a successful business is hard. But it doesn’t have to be.

Every seasoned business owner will tell you that starting, maintaining and growing a successful business takes a ton of work and a ton of time. But this is your chance to fast-track your path to success by applying to Calling All Dreamers. When you’re paired with a business coach to help you navigate the ins and outs of starting a business, and when you’re provided with all the essentials you need, you cut years off your journey and kick-start your results. Even though starting a business may still be a lot of work, Calling All Dreamer empowers you to be as successful as possible.

Why apply?

This year, we’re DOUBLING the cash prize, which is now $20,000. The remainder of the prize package, valued at over $100,000, includes everything from financial planning and legal services to graphic design and marketing. This business service prize package gives you all the tools you need to start your business. Learn more here.

Be a part of the dream

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. 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.




Congratulations to our 2019 Calling All Dreamers winner, Nash & Proper!

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Nash & Proper Win 2019 Calling All Dreamers Competition

Sacramento-born chef and co-owner Cecil L. Rhodes II is evolving the popular Nash & Proper food trucks into Sacramento’s first brick and mortar restaurant focused on hot chicken, a fiery fried variety inspired by Nashville’s famous flavor. Putting his own spin on the iconic dish, expect a similar cult following for Sacramento hot chicken. Check out their social media: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Produced by the Downtown Sacramento Foundation, Calling All Dreamers is a retail business plan competition that encourages entrepreneurs to compete for the chance to open a downtown storefront and earn a coveted business start-up package valued at over $100,000 to turn their dream into reality.

The first year is the most difficult for small businesses. Many startups struggle with capital, overhead expenses, permitting processes and the details of actually managing a business. This competition is a game-changer. It provides the winner with the essential resources and tools needed to successfully open a business in downtown Sacramento, including: 

  • Up to $20,000 in matching funds
  • A business service prize package that includes financial planning, store design, marketing, graphic design, legal services, accounting, permit process assistance, and more.

Winner, 2019: Nash & Proper

Cecil Rhodes II & Jake Bombard, Owners   In 2019, Cecil Rhodes II & Jake Bombard were selected as the grand prize winners of the Calling All Dreamers business competition. We caught up with the first-time entrepreneurs …

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