DRAFT 2018 RAILS Grant Program Guidelines

Last updated: October 30, 2017


On June 21, 2016, the Sacramento City Council adopted the Innovation and Growth Fund Policy and Guidelines to create new programs that expand the startup pipeline and engage the innovation ecosystem. In doing so, the council unanimously approved a framework for the Rapid Acceleration, Innovation, and Leadership in Sacramento (RAILS) program.

The RAILS program offers up to $1 million in grants annually to support the development of Sacramento’s entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem through “startup enablers” — community-based initiatives and programs that help entrepreneurs take their startup from initial idea to viable company.

During the application period for the City’s inaugural 2017 cohort, we received feedback regarding the eligibility of startups to apply for funding through this program. In the 2018 application cycle, startups that are focused on improving the quality of life in cities will be eligible for funding through the program – specifically, all applicants will be required to align their proposals with the Sacramento Urban Technology Lab (SUTL) framework.

SUTL embodies the “Triple Helix” model of economic innovation, where government, academia and industry collaborate to transform Sacramento into that of a “living laboratory” for entrepreneurs, advanced technology businesses, and academic institutions to test, develop, and scale their ideas, products, and services. By actively supporting technology development and demonstration throughout different districts in Sacramento, SUTL will help grow Sacramento’s existing base of high-tech workers, business incubators, and early-stage technology businesses and encourage established technology firms and research partners to test new technologies in a live city environment. Just as important, the SUTL framework aligns the City’s innovation and economic development efforts with the imperative to accelerate quality of life improvements for all residents.

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