2018-19 RAILS Grants support innovation and entrepreneurship in Sacramento’s underserved communities

On Tuesday, July 3, the City Council approved 14 grant awards through the City’s Rapid Acceleration, Innovation, and Leadership in Sacramento (RAILS) Grant Program, supporting the development of our entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem.

This year’s awards place a strong emphasis on workforce development, a key focus of the Sacramento Urban Technology Lab (SUTL) .

The grant awards support a variety of projects including new co-working spaces, training programs to develop local entrepreneurs, and science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) programs for youth.

Grantees were selected by a diverse panel of local experts in economic development, workforce development, and technology. Panelists reviewed 143 applications consisting of $11.4 million in funding requests submitted by organizations throughout the city. After two rounds of scoring, 23 finalists appeared before the review panel to present their pitches before the final selection.

The City Council approved the final grant awards at their meeting on Tuesday, July 3.

“The 2018 RAILS program is part of a larger effort to encourage inclusive economic development throughout the City,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

“Oftentimes many of the great programs and resources we have don’t make it out to the communities that could benefit the most from these opportunities.

This year’s awardees are deeply connected in their communities and well-equipped to deliver programs to make Sacramento’s innovation ecosystem the most inclusive in the country.”

The review panel sought to fund projects that are located in or primarily serve residents of Sacramento’s Priority Neighborhoods. These neighborhoods were identified by City staff in 2015 using a variety of different indicators, including poverty and unemployment rates, to strategically target resources.

The grant awards build on Project Prosper, an initiative to spark a city-wide conversation on equitable and inclusive growth within neighborhoods, and beyond.

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