On March 2, the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA), awarded Hacker Lab a $125,000 Capital Region SlingShot grant to bolster entrepreneurship, business startups and innovation in the nine-county Capital Region. The Sacramento area effort is managed by Valley Vision and the program is part of a state-wide California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) project.

Hacker Lab will establish the Capital Region Makerspace Network with the funding. On March 10, Hacker Lab will issue a request for proposal for both a Maker in Residence and an Entrepreneur in Residence to unite ecosystem partners within a nine-county area and develop a state and national model of makerspace incubation. The project will begin April 17, 2017 and end on March 31, 2018. The RFP is available at https://hackerlab.org/slingshot and the deadline to respond is 4 PM on March 31, 2017. For more information, contact slingshot@hackerlab.org.

The two contract positions will work with regional makerspaces to strengthen the network, engage nontraditional and underserved populations as makers and entrepreneurs, develop resources to serve the region and document the model for replication.

The Maker in Residence (MIR) position will accelerate economic self-sufficiency through micro-enterprise development.  The Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) will provide open source, open entry, guided support and community mentoring for micro-enterprise development.

The project expects to provide services to a minimum of 169 makers and entrepreneurs, and launch 35 micro-businesses. The contract MIR and EIR positions will focus on serving residents throughout the nine-county region who live at or below the poverty level and who are highly educated, as well as residents who have educational, language, cultural, physical or other barriers to jobs that pay living wage. The goal is to help them develop micro-businesses that are customized to their abilities and circumstances, and contribute to the regional economy.

Additionally, the network will offer services such as short-term instruction for technical skill-building, business boot camps, youth and adult hackathons; community-building and networking opportunities such as meetups, showcases, social benefit design challenges, and mentoring; and incubation space for start-up businesses.

The Capital Region Makerspace Network will drive regional innovation by leveraging makerspaces including Hacker Lab in midtown Sacramento and Rocklin, the Curious Forge in Grass Valley and Folsom Lake College’s Innovation Center. These makerspaces are connected through the CCC Maker initiative, funded by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office Workforce and Economic Development Division, under the Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy framework.  Additional academic community college makerspaces are being considered at Yuba College, American River College, Sacramento City College and Cosumnes River College and these colleges are participating in the CCC Maker initiative.