Calling All Dreamers

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 lot of work and a lot of time. Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s Calling All Dreamers program allows you to fast-track this process with our multi-week bootcamp to help you gain all the knowledge and resources you need to start your brick-and-mortar business downtown.

Produced by the Downtown Sacramento Foundation, Calling All Dreamers is a business incubator program that brings in industry professionals to mentor entrepreneurs for the chance to open a downtown storefront and earn a coveted business start-up package valued at $100,000.

About our Calling All Dreamers program:

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 Downtown Sacramento Foundation launched the Calling All Dreamers program to support entrepreneurs and bring their dream of opening a downtown storefront to reality. Previous participants of this incubator program — including Dipped N Color Splat Studio, Nash & Proper, Neo Escape Rooms, and The Allspicery — have quickly become signature small businesses downtown, inspiring a new class of dreamers to pursue their big idea year after year.

Program at-a-glance

    • APPLY — Prepare an application, business plan and 60-second video.
    • DEVELOP — Applicants are chosen based on our guidelines. Accepted applicants are placed in their bootcamp cohort paired with a business mentor from SCORE to build their concept and refine their pitch.
    • WIN — Entrepreneurs who are most business-ready will be given up to $20,000 in cash, in addition to in-kind services from industry professionals.

Important program dates

    • September 1, 2023 — Applications close at 11:59 p.m.
    • September – December 2023 — The selected cohort takes workshops and revises their business plans as they learn.
    • December 2023 — Finalists are selected based on their revised business plans.
    • January 2024 — Finalists review their business plans with their mentors and prepare to pitch the business to the selection committee.
    • February 2024 — Final business plans are presented and the most open-ready business is selected to receive the prize package.

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 support. Businesses interested in helping to make a difference by donating services should contact Andrew LaFrance, Business Development Manager, at [email protected] or 916-442-8575.

2022-2023 Calling All Dreamers Cohort

Dipped N Color Splat Studio, 2022–2023 Calling All Dreamers winner, is now open!

“From coming across a Calling All Dreamers flyer and deciding to take a chance on an idea I had [for my business] to now being in this moment is tremendous… I couldn’t have done it without the huge support of those at the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, SCORE, One Million Cups, my family, friends, and local businesses I met along the way!”Dipped N Color Splat Studio helps families connect and create positive experiences through art with custom pre-sketched canvases, paint kits, and private paint parties. Monet’s mission is to inspire every parent and child to celebrate individuality and diversity so that they are empowered to be their most creative and true selves. You can learn more about Dipped N Color here.

Flora & Fauna opening Fall 2023

Flora & Fauna Provisions will be opening soon at 980 9th Street to serve California-inspired meals made with farm-fresh ingredients. Until then, you can find them at various markets throughout Sacramento. Check Instagram at @florafaunaprovisions for updated locations and events throughout the week.

Burnside Coffee Bar opening Winter 2023

Burnside Coffee Bar, where you can sip unique coffees made with the finest ingredients, will be opening at 902 K Street in late 2023. Until then, you can find them operating their coffee cart in front of 902 K Street or else at various locations around downtown. Check Instagram at @dontdrinkburnside for updated locations throughout the week.

Previous Open Participants

Since 2013, Calling All Dreamers has helped business owners open storefronts downtown and across Sacramento. The program provides participants with a collaborative network of entrepreneurs and mentors, so creative business concepts can thrive as physical …

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