Startup Elk Grove

engagED voices feature key initiatives in the region to educate community members about the developments and critical work underway in our region. For this month’s feature, we talked with the City of Elk Grove’s Economic Development Specialist, Sara Rodrigues, to learn about the city’s start-up program, “Startup Elk Grove”. Read on to learn more.

Please provide a high-level overview of the organization.

The Startup Elk Grove Incentive Program (“Startup Elk Grove”) is designed to support the launch, growth, and attraction of innovative startup companies in and to Elk Grove, California by providing a mix of financial, site selection, entitlement, and permitting support to entrepreneurs, startup companies, and operators of co-working, incubator, and accelerator spaces.

Startup Elk Grove specifically targets and assists: 1. entrepreneurs seeking to establish a startup company in Elk Grove; 2. existing startup companies looking to scale operations in Elk Grove; and 3. operators of co-working spaces, business incubators, and startup accelerators looking to locate in Elk Grove. The overriding goal of the Program is to identify and invest in new and innovative companies that will grow rapidly and become future large company anchors of the Elk Grove economy. The Program also seeks to develop and support a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Elk Grove by investing in entrepreneurs, companies, and physical spaces that will promote a local clustering of startup businesses that will in turn attract resources and equity capital to the City to support these companies.

Typical characteristics of startups assisted by this program include:

  1. Has attracted or is positioned to attract capital from seed, venture, or other similar capital investment sources.
  2. Have or be prepared to hire at least five employees, which can include founders and owners.
  3. Have the potential to grow rapidly in terms of employees, commercial space occupied, and/or local tax generation.
  4. Is less than five years old, has less than 100 employees, has less than $50 million of annual revenue, and is valued at less than $500 million. Often, companies assisted through this program will be much smaller than these thresholds.
  5. Falls into the following or similar verticals: hardware, software, software as a service (SaaS), mobile, e-commerce, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), robotics, AgTech, HealthTech, BioTech, internet of things (IoT), GreenTech, CleanTech, FinTech, blockchain, and big data.
  6. Has a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), defined as a commercial offering developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters.

Components of Startup Elk Grove:

  • LAUNCH – This component provides financial incentives to startup entrepreneurs with a high potential concept who agree to develop and attempt to launch their business in Elk Grove.
  • SCALEUP – This component provides financial incentives and non-monetary assistance (i.e. site selection, entitlements, and permitting) for startup companies that demonstrate high growth potential and are looking to scale operations in Elk Grove.
  • SPACES – This component provides financial incentives for operators of co-working spaces, incubators, or accelerators located in the City of Elk Grove. Funds may also be used by the City to purchase, lease, or improve commercial spaces suitable for these types of operations.


How does your organization promote partnership and inclusion within the Greater Sacramento region?

  • Support for Co-working Spaces and Incubators: Startup Elk Grove is not only targeting entrepreneurs and startup companies but also operators of co-working spaces, business incubators, and startup accelerators. By supporting these entities, the program is creating hubs where entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds can connect, collaborate, and access resources to grow their businesses.
  • Encouraging Diversity in Startup Ecosystem: By investing in a diverse range of startups in various verticals such as hardware, software, AgTech, HealthTech, and FinTech, the program is promoting inclusivity within the startup ecosystem. This approach ensures that entrepreneurs from different industries and backgrounds have the opportunity to participate and thrive in Elk Grove and Greater Sacramento’s economy.
  • Focus on Innovation and Technology: The program’s focus on innovative industries such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, blockchain, big data, and more creates opportunities for entrepreneurs with cutting-edge ideas to contribute to the region’s economic growth. By supporting startups in these sectors, Startup Elk Grove is fostering a culture of innovation and technological advancement that benefits the entire Greater Sacramento region.


What is your long-term vision for this organization? How do you imagine it will evolve over time?

The long- term vision for the Startup Elk Grove Incentive Program is to establish Elk Grove as a thriving hub for innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth within the Greater Sacramento region. Over time, the project aims to evolve in several keyways:

  • Ecosystem Development: The program seeks to cultivate a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Elk Grove by continuously supporting startups, co-working spaces, incubators, and accelerators. This includes providing ongoing financial incentives, site selection assistance, and permitting support to attract and retain innovative companies.
  • Job Creation and Economic Impact: As supported startups grow and succeed, they will contribute to job creation, commercial space occupancy, and local tax generation in Elk Grove. The long-term vision is to have a significant number of successful startups that serve as anchors of the local economy, driving economic prosperity and opportunities for residents.
  • Industry Diversification: Over time, the program will evolve to support a wider range of industries and verticals, reflecting the changing landscape of innovation and entrepreneurship. This will include emerging sectors, new technologies, and niche markets that present opportunities for growth and investment.
  • Sustainability and Resilience: The long-term vision includes building a sustainable and resilient startup ecosystem that can withstand economic fluctuations and external challenges.

Overall, the long-term vision for the Startup Elk Grove Incentive Program is to create a dynamic and supportive environment where startups thrive, innovation flourishes, and economic prosperity is shared by all residents of Elk Grove and the Greater Sacramento region.


Is there anything you’d like the community to know about this project, or any ways they can get involved or support its success?

  • Opportunities for Entrepreneurs: If you’re an entrepreneur with a startup idea or an existing startup company, the program offers various forms of support. Don’t hesitate to reach out and explore how the program can help you launch or grow your business in Elk Grove.
  • Spreading the Word: Help raise awareness about the Startup Elk Grove Incentive Program within the community. Subscribe to our newsletter “BUSINESSWISE” to stay up to date; and share information about the program with friends, family, and colleagues who may benefit from its support. By spreading the word, we can connect more entrepreneurs with the resources they need to thrive.
  • Attend/Sponsor our Pitch Elk Grove event. This year the event will be held on September 19, 2024 at District56 in Elk Grove. For more information or to make sure you receive an invitation closer to the date, reach out to Sara Rodrigues.

By coming together as a community to support the Startup Elk Grove Incentive Program, we can create a thriving ecosystem where entrepreneurs thrive, startups flourish, and our local economy prospers. Let’s work together to build a brighter future for Elk Grove and the Greater Sacramento region!

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