Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, CA is the state’s capital and sixth-largest city. Since the California Gold Rush of the 1840s, Sacramento has been a major economic hub for both the state and the West Coast as a whole, a status it still holds today.

The city consistently ranks as one of the best for entrepreneurship, appearing on a pair of 2019 WalletHub entrepreneurship rankings: 54th on its list of the best large cities to start a business and 18th on its list of the best metro areas for STEM professionals.

Sacramento also appeared on Business.org’s list of the top 40 U.S. cities for entrepreneurship and start-ups in 2018 as well as Inc.com’s Surge Cities Index of the best places in America to start a business. Meanwhile, the state of California as a whole consistently ranks highly in entrepreneurship as well. The Kauffman Foundation’s four Indicators of Entrepreneurship have it as the highest-rated state for starting a business in the country.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Sacramento’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

The Best Business Referral Network has two area chapters and hosts weekly meetings to help small business owners and entrepreneurs grow their companies.

Through monthly meetings, the Confidence for Women Entrepreneurs Community aims to support and empower women entrepreneurs.

Women entrepreneurs can attend monthly networking meetings hosted by the Women Entrepreneurs Extraordinaire group to make professional connections.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

The Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce hosts a variety of events ranging from networking opportunities to workshops to public conferences.

This organization hosts regular “Fireside Chat” events in which successful entrepreneurs come to share their stories and tips.

Techstars hosts Startup Weekend events, two-day entrepreneurship conferences, in Sacramento on an annual basis.

StartupSac, a website covering entrepreneurship in Sacramento, has a curated calendar of local entrepreneurship events, including their own StartupSac Happy Hour networking meetings.

 

Startup Competitions:

Hosted by the University of California, Davis, the Big Bang! Business Competition is open to students as well as the public at large.

Downtown Sacramento Partnership organizes the Calling All Dreamers competition, an opportunity for local retail startups to earn a “start-up package” worth almost $10,000.

Part of the Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy’s curriculum is the Business Plan Competition, in which teams present their final plans and receive professional feedback.

SVP Fast Pitch is an opportunity for 20 local socially-based nonprofit companies to present their startups for a chance to raise money and make connections.

 

Co-working Spaces:

Capasity is a co-working space (with a second location in Oak Park coming in 2019) that offers a number of perks to help its members productive and entertained.

With a variety of membership plans for both traditional co-working and private office space, Outlet Coworking places an emphasis on hospitality for its members.

With membership levels starting from a $7-day pass, The Trade Collab is a combination of a co-working space and coffee shop.

The Urban Hive is a co-working space specifically aimed at supporting and promoting creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship.

More than just a traditional co-working space, The Workshop provides its members with a number of resources to help them become successful entrepreneurs.

 

Makerspaces:

With three locations across the Sacramento metro area, Hacker Lab has over 10,000 square feet of workspace and over $500,000 of equipment available to its members.

MakerHQ is a nonprofit organization that provides its members with access to a workshop and tools necessary for small-scale manufacturing and creating.

All currently-enrolled students, faculty, and staff can access the school’s makerspace, located in the main campus’ Cosmo Building.

Several branches of the Sacramento Public Library system provide members access to small makerspaces and production studios.

 

Incubators:

Based just outside of Sacramento in Woodland, CA, AgStart is a non-profit company that works to support agriculture and food startups located in California’s Central Valley area.

The Alchemy Kitchen is a kitchen incubator that runs programs to help educate entrepreneurs looking to launch food startups and provides them with low-cost kitchen access.

With one location in West Sacramento on Bayer’s Crop Science Research & Development Center, the Bayer CoLaborator works to develop promising startups.

Founded in 1986, the Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy is a nonprofit organization that aims to help educate aspiring entrepreneurs.

 

Accelerators:

The Capital Region AR VR Accelerator is an 11-week program for startups based on augmented reality and virtual reality technologies.

Impact Venture Capital selects the most promising technology startups in Northern California for their 8-week accelerator program that culminates with a public showcase on Demo Day.

Evolution Accelerator provides funding and support to promising startups across a wide variety of industries and connects them to investors that can help continue their growth.

 

Colleges/Universities:

This College offers an associate’s degree and a certificate program in small business management as well as offering an on-campus makerspace.

Sacramento State’s Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship organizes resources to support entrepreneurship within the university and in the community as a whole.

Students at UC Davis as well as those living in the area have access to a wide variety of entrepreneurial resources organized by the university.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

Sacramento is home to one of many locations of Frontier Venture Capital, which finances early-stage technology and media companies.

Impact Venture Capital invests in promising IT-based startups from all around the world.

Technically based down the road in Folsom, Moneta Ventures primarily invests in the area, with 70% of its money going to Northern California-based startups and 30% to those in Austin, TX.

Founded in 2000, Sacramento Angels continues to invest in startups across a wide variety of industries that have strong leadership and are located in or near Northern California.

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

While the Sacramento Bee doesn’t offer a newsletter specifically covering business or entrepreneurship, it does have several offerings for area news as a whole.

The Sacramento Business Journal offers several newsletters covering the biggest headlines in the city’s business world.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s email newsletter contains news and events about business in the city.

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Sacramento not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

San Jose, CA, San Francisco, CA, San Diego, CA


Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.