Sacramento is forentrepreneurship.

The City committed up to $1M in grants for groups that drive acceleration, innovation & leadership for startups in 2016.

Meet the 2016 Winners

The formula for growing our economy:5X For every one tech job created, another four jobs are added to the economy. 1

Let's Make Sacramento the Capital of Entrepreneurship

Mayor Kevin Johnson:

"A more diverse, more entrepreneurial economy means a stronger Sacramento: more jobs, more innovation, and mostly a better quality of life for all of us. That's why we're launching RAILS."

Rapid Acceleration, Innovation & Leadership in Sacramento (RAILS) Grants

Whether it's a program, app, or event, if your initiative helps local entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground, grow, and scale, you should apply for a RAILS grant:


Acceleration Grants

For accelerator and incubator programs supporting Sacramento startups through mentorship, networking, and education to raise capital, grow their business, and create new jobs.


Innovation Grants

For civic tech companies and organizations making it easier to work with and in Sacramento; or for local organizations bringing together the innovation community in Sacramento.


Leadership Grants

For educational programs training our next entrepreneurs in technology and business to build Sacramento-based startups.

Is this a venture capital fund?

No. RAILS is designed for organizations (non-profit or for-profit) that help entrepreneurs grow their businesses through grants, not investments, or through piloting an app within the community.


RAILS is designed to support innovation in Sacramento, but not just any organization will meet our criteria. The city has made commitments to diversity, delivery, and direct impact:

Make the best thing the easiest thing

Diversity, Openness, Inclusion

Sacramento boasts one of the most diverse populations (by gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etc), and we believe that is a strength — and that our innovation sector should reflect that diversity. We prioritize applicants that make a serious commitment to inclusion.


Lean, Collaborative, and Proven

Good startups move fast: build, test, iterate. And repeat until you see real results. In the same way, we're looking for organizations that know how to deliver and deliver fast. We expect to see meaningful results by the end of 2016. (And we'll do our part of moving fast on the selection process, too.)

Design for flexibility

Fills a gap in the industry

The city is fortunate to have a budding ecosystem to support innovation and entrepreneurship, ranging from training programs to accelerators. But we still believe that gaps exist. If you want to apply, make the case for how your program meets a real need for Sacramento.


City would be "catalytic"

The city isn't your typical investor or foundation. We are more of a platform to enable your organization or company to get more stuff done. That means we want to see evidence of support from other funders and partnership for leveraged impact.

So What Now?

The application process for 2016 is now closed. You can meet the 15 organizations chosen for the inaugural RAILS program.

Applicants were screened and scored by the Mayor's Office and an external board of experts in technology, innovation, and business. Recommendations were made to City Council, which unaimously supported funding approval.

Over 100 applications were submitted, and only a small number (15) were selected for funding this cycle. However, Whether you're awarded a grant or not, applying teams become a part of a network of innovators in Sacramento, which the Mayor's Office will be convening regularly to collaborate, share successes and failures, and figure what we can keep doing to help Sacramento startups thrive.

Finally, we expect to run this program again in 2017, so stay tuned for more details.


Innovation Multiplier Effect

According to research from the Bay Area Economic Council Institute, "the local multiplier effect for high-tech jobs is large. For each job created in the local high-tech sector, approximately 4.3 jobs are created..." This is because as startups turn into profitable businesses, the local economy grows and so do other sectors: retail, food, real estate, etc, so whether a booming startup scene in Sacramento will not only grow but diversify the economy.