Got a dream? In it’s 2nd annual Calling All Dreamers competition, the Downtown Sacramento Foundation (DSF) is looking to make a business dream a reality by giving an individual the resources needed to open their own business. The competition is open to anyone who has a entrepreneurial dream and the will to make it happen with the help of a $135,000 start-up prize package that includes $10,000 cash, a downtown storefront with one year free rent, and the resources and services needed to open a small business.
“This is great for Sacramento because we’re in a growing period right now,” said Valarie Mamone-Werder, Sr. Manager of Business Development for Downtown Sacramento Partnership (parent company to DSF), “but opening a business can be scary and it has a lot of risks…we hope to soften that risk a little bit by bringing this package and the support it brings.”
Mamone-Werder says they know Sacramento has a lot of talented, unique entrepreneurs and the competition gives these people the opportunity and incentive to develop their ideas and to bring those business ideas forth.
“We want them to choose downtown for their business and we want to help them grow and thrive,” Mamone-Werder said. “We need to let Sacramentans and people outside the region know that we’re a really supportive entrepreneurial city an want to create this eclectic, vibrant downtown.”
Last year’s winner, Andy Paul, opened Andy’s Candy Apothecary, a fun, vintage-looking candy specialty shop on 9th and J. Paul says his dream started out as a candy cart at events such as Second Saturday, but it expanded to a permanent structure as a result of the contest.
His advice to people thinking about applying for competition is to “absolutely do it…This is a great time to get into downtown. The business community is really rallying around making downtown a more active place and there’s a lot of really great momentum moving around.”
As Mamone-Werder emphasized, “Downtown is the heart of the region and the more we shine the more everybody does well.”
Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 3rd. For applications, rules, and contest and prize information visit www.callingalldreamers.org. For questions about the competition or opening a business downtown call DSP at (916) 442-8575.