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Sacramento Region Innovation Gets $750,000 Boost

News release
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Author:
Christine Ault

Eight awards announced today to benefit California Capital Region entrepreneurial and small business community

SACRAMENTO, CA — At a meeting today at the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA), the SETA board approved $750,000 in funding awards to eight different organizations across the Capital Region as part of SlingShot, a statewide project of the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB). The local awards are designated to bolster entrepreneurship, business startups, and innovation in the 9-county Capital Region.

“CWDB empowered local workforce boards in regions across the state to ‘move the needle’ on big employment, education and jobs issues,” said Meg Arnold, managing director at Valley Vision. Valley Vision has managed the SlingShot project since 2014 and this approval is a culmination of the work of four regional WDBs, an employer advisory committee, over 40 stakeholders, and Valley Vision staff.

Award recipients of the Capital Region SlingShot grants were named today following a rigorous RFP process. Funds have been allocated to multiple organizations in geographies both in and outside of the urban core. The eight recipients are the Sacramento Metro Chamber ($125,000), California Capital ($100,000), Hacker Lab ($125,000), CSUS-University Enterprises ($82,498), Glenn County ($100,000), Center for Land Based Learning ($91,844), Agtech Innovation Alliance ($75,658), I/O Labs, SARTA, Fullstack ($50,000).

At a time when small business and startups created nearly 2/3rd of the nation’s net new jobs (USBA/2013), our local workforce boards recognized the need for improved systems focused on growing the jobs of the future. The funds are designed to enable specific projects that further the goals of SlingShot: increase support services to entrepreneurs and startups; promote innovative and risk-taking projects, ensure that resources are truly regional and accessible to underrepresented groups; and work collaboratively towards making the regional innovation ecosystem robust and accessible.

“It’s a particular triumph that funding spans a regional scale as well as across business sectors,” said Gary Pelfrey, chair of the Yolo Workforce Development Board. “Along side the RAILS grants, SlingShot marks the second major injection of funds to grow regional innovation in less than 18 months.”

SlingShot awards address three areas of focus: mentoring networks that connect entrepreneurs to experienced executives; physical spaces for entrepreneurs, such as co-working facilities, maker spaces, incubators and accelerators; and the creation of an e-Resource database, a searchable, interactive online tool that will house a comprehensive inventory of all the support services available to entrepreneurs across the region.

“This effort has shown innovation, leadership, and risk-taking from the regional WDBs at a time when many other regions embarked upon more traditional workforce development projects with their SlingShot funds,” added Arnold. “The Capital Region SlingShot team took a risk by centering on efforts that support innovation. As the funding awards move forward today, I think we are seeing a real victory for the region.”

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SlingShot is a statewide program being implemented in the Capital Region by a partnership of four local workforce development boards: the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA), Golden Sierra, the North Central Counties Consortium, and the Yolo County WDB, with SETA acting as the lead partner. Valley Vision is serving as the SlingShot project manager, working with the workforce board partnership.