‘Start up Elk Grove incentive program’ approved, seeks to the land next Jobs, Wozniak

August 24, 2018 |  

Another program meant to jump start Elk Grove’s languishing economic development efforts was approved by the Elk Grove City Council during their Wednesday, August 22 meeting. This program, however, is far more ambitious – it seeks the next garage-founded tech start-up in the mode of Apple Computer, Google, or NetFlix. 

The program developed by the city’s economic development director Darrell Doan will provide loans to start-ups and non-monetary assistance and large loans that could be converted to grant for new established tech companies. The program, according to information presented in a PowerPoint presentation seeks to “foster the emergence of an innovation ecosystem in Elk Grove.”

During his Wednesday night presentation to the city council, Doan said the program is targeting tech companies. Among the industries Doan said the program targets are artificial intelligence, ag tech, biotech, and green tech among several. 

“These are start-up tech companies, the type of companies you think of in the Bay Area through the rounds of venture capital of founders in garages that we are talking about,” Doan said.

Doan went on to say he will seek to locate companies that shared characteristics of Apple Computer when it started – companies that will experience rapid growth and remain in the location they started. Additionally, Doan noted this plan was developed based on the strategic initiates developed by the city council last year.

If approved, the start-ups could receive up to $10,000 in direct funding, and or city paid tuition in a business incubator.  For larger established companies the city could award loans by invitation, that could be converted into a grant, up to $150,000. 

Earlier efforts by the city’s economic development department have a mixed record. The most prominent example of failed attempts to recruit private enterprise was the 2016 announcement that Fremont, California-based NRC Manufacturing would relocate to the city.

NRC did not relocate to the city, and there have no further announcements regarding their intentions. More recently, the city announced that San Leandro, California-based Mia Rancho will expand bakery operations in the city and they would be adding about 250 jobs over the next two years.  

As for determining the companies that may qualify for the incentives, Doan said the economic development department would do their due diligence to assure they are qualified and have high-growth prospects. 

“The hope is we pick right,” he added.

Vice Mayor Darren Suen complimented the program but asked Doan how he will identify future Apple Computer, or Google's.

“How are we going to make sure they know, the college student that’s in Stanford in the dorm, or wherever, Harvard, are going to know this is here in Elk Grove,” Suen said.

Doan responded that he would not personally be responsible for marketing the program. Instead, a Bay Area-based employee of Greater Sacramento Economic Council will present it in the Bay Area start-ups. 

“I honestly don’t think we’ll have to lift a finger to market this,” Doan stated.  


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