Calling All Dreamers…DSF Offers $125,000 Award Package for the Next Big Business Idea

Downtown Sacramento is looking for the next big business idea. The Downtown Sacramento Foundation’s (DSF) inaugural retail business competition, Calling All Dreamers, will accept applications from April 16 to May 24. The multi-round competition is open to entrepreneurs with a retail business idea looking to open a storefront.

The winning Calling All Dreamers entrepreneur will receive a prize package worth approximately $125,000, which includes free rent up to a year in a downtown location, startup capital, and business support services. Community businesses will provide services including advertising, contractor build out assistance, graphic design, strategic marketing support, legal and accounting services, and more.

The competition is designed to stimulate business development in the core and provide support to Downtown’s next big idea.

“We want to encourage innovative business owners to launch, operate, and thrive in Downtown,” said Downtown Sacramento Partnership (DSP) Business Recruitment and Retention Manager, Valerie Mamone-Werder. “By incentivizing one business we will be creating more jobs, a new passionate business owner, and one more reason for visitors and residents to experience Downtown.”

Competition applicants will provide business concepts that will develop into a business plan as the competition progresses. A panel composed of the DSF board and business experts will judge submittals based on creativity, a sound business model, and clarity and passion demonstrated in the application. Ten to fifteen semi-finalists will be selected to further refine their business concept model. A group of 3-5 finalists will then be selected to do a final business pitch to the panel. The judges will select the entrepreneur with the most viable plan that both fits within Downtown’s retail mix and has long-term sustainability potential as the winner.

Rules, eligibility, key dates, and resource information is available at


For more information contact DSP Business Recruitment & Retention Manager, Valerie Mamone-Werder at 916.442.8575 or

About the Downtown Sacramento Foundation
The DSF is a sister organization to the Downtown Sacramento Partnership. Established in 2011, this 501(c)3 organization is dedicated to fostering civic pride through the improvement of the social and physical environment of Downtown. The DSF provides much needed support to the Downtown Sacramento Partnership (DSP) programs that provide elevated services for public space management and beautification, homeless outreach and public safety.

About the Calling All Dreamers

Calling All Dreamers is made possible by the generous support of the following sponsors who continue to be champions for the economic growth of the Downtown core and the Sacramento region: Sacramento State, College of Business Administration, SMUD, City of Sacramento, Economic Development Department, Wells Fargo, CIM, Sacramento Downtown Plaza, Market One Builders Inc., Vision Launchers, Sacramento Magazine, MeringCarson, Inside Publications, Brown Fink Boyce & Astle, LLP, Law Office of Kristina M. Reed, SCORE, T. Dogg Studios, and Sign of Light.




The Downtown Lowdown

1 Comment

  1. John Locke, 11 months ago

    What an amazing program! I think it’s great whenever people support entrepreneurship in Sacramento.


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Contact the DSF

Downtown Sacramento Partnership
980 9th Street, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95814
P: (916) 442-8575
F (916) 442-2053
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