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Sacramento Stands Alone with RAILS Grants

In a bold statement intended to underscore its commitment to innovation, the City of Sacramento recently awarded nearly $1 million organizations that will incubate, accelerate and mentor startup companies willing to invest and grow in Sacramento. In approving the RAILS grants, Sacramento’s leadership took a step that has no known precedent around the country, and has made it clear that it intends to sustain and grow a cluster of companies that train technology workers, design technologies and build the products that will propel us into the future.

2016 RAILS Grant Recipients

  1. The Elevate Project is a mentor program for women tech entrepreneurs. Goals are to increase success of women-led businesses and expand opportunity for female entrepreneurs. The grant will support creation of infrastructure for the project in Sacramento, construct a strategic roadmap for implement and hosting of events to engage this community.

  2. StartupSac, a project of Apptology, is a web platform to manage and promote grassroots startup events, curate and provide access to startup resources through the StartupSac website and mobile apps.  There is currently no other one-stop resource hub for startups, entrepreneurs and innovators in the region.

  3. Square One Clubs will coordinate computer programming summer classes where students and adults participate in computer programming and game development training in a classroom environment. Additionally, the project will offer hosted events such as game jams, training, public game previews and vendor exhibitions.

  4. Founder Academy received a grant to provide entrepreneurial founders with tools and knowledge to build thriving businesses in our region. Through a rigorous training curriculum, the Academy will bring the real-world perspective of business mentors. The expectation is that the RAILS grant will allow Founder Academy to accelerate its own growth curve in order to serve more entrepreneurs each year.

  5. Entrepreneurs Showcase Accelerator, received a grant to assist in delivery of its program, which includes a ten week boot camp. During the boot camp, entrepreneurs are mentored in refining their companies. A program highlight is Demo Day, where participants pitch their business idea to program peers. A final program element is the Sacramento Road Show where the most promising alumni are showcased before industry investors.

  6. E49 Corporation is focused on equipping and mobilizing non-profit and for-profit businesses in a co-working space to solve social issues through networking, mentoring and training. Its principle project, Suite 210, offers a six week course focused on both curriculum and mentoring.

  7. Square Root Academy trains the next generation of engineers and scientists coming from Sacramento’s underserved areas. The program is provided to students at no cost. Using a hands-on STEM-based curriculum, in-class mentors connect the mathematical and scientific theories taught in the classroom to real life applications, thereby bridging the gap between classroom concepts and practical application.

  8. Code for Sacramento is a civic technology organization committed to bringing teams together to explore creative solutions to civic issues. In addition, the program seeks to improve public access to government services and information using technology. The grant will support increased engagement with government, non-profit and private entities.

  9. Green Tech Web Builders Bootcamp introduces low income youth from diverse ethnic backgrounds to high technology careers, including web development, design and manufacturing. The project will introduce underserved youth to high technology and give them an opportunity to join a workforce currently experiencing a disparity in women and minorities. The project will deliver fifteen students who have become proficient in the use of various computer coding languages, including html, CSS, and Java Script.

  10. Dynasty Video Productions will produce Innovation Sacramento, a video series about entrepreneurs, startups and events that are fueling tech growth in Sacramento. The project will include 10 seven to ten minute episodes highlighting the people, events and technology that makes Sacramento an emerging technology innovation capitol.

  11. Yellow Circle is committed to making careers in information technology more accessible. Its CodeIT! Academy project will create an advanced online learning academy where students of all ages, races, gender, locations or socioeconomic status can gain hands-on experience and education in all aspects of information technology.

  12. Hacker Lab will expand its current workspace to create a 20,000 square foot maker innovation, education, and startup center. The RAIL’s grant will also help secure new equipment that will improve Hacker Lab’s capabilities. Hacker Lab serves as Sacramento’s current option for entrepreneurs looking to access local makers and fabrication machinery to design and prototype a technical solution for their businesses.

  13. Operation Innovate will offer digital badge certification for underserved youth in IOS app, website and video game development through its Get STEAMED Digital Badge project. The project will train and badge 45 youth in IOS app development, instructional website design and development, video game development, startup entrepreneurship and workforce readiness.

  14. The Rocket Department Hardware and Manufacturing Laboratory will open a prototyping lab where entrepreneurs can validate and build their business ideas. The goal is to provide access to high quality equipment and technical experts who know how to use them. The lab will address the gap between entrepreneurs with the ideas and the people with the technical skills to prototype those ideas.

  15. I/O Labs Foundation will launch a new innovation center in downtown Sacramento. As a central organizing entity for Sacramento’s research centers, incubators, accelerators, universities and investors, the I/O Labs Foundation operates as a conduit to state, national and global innovation ecosystems.