Arts & Culture

Dream Big: Calling All Dreamers Business Competition

Frankie Wenson

Do you have a side hustle that you wish could one day become your primary job? Now through May 31st you have the opportunity to apply for the 2019 Calling All Dreamers competition for a chance to make your dreams of owning your own business a reality! Since launching in 2013, the shark-tank style competition has helped numerous entrepreneurs open storefronts all over downtown Sacramento. Qualified candidates will go through a 12-week business development course for a chance to open their dream business in downtown Sacramento with the winner earning a start-up package valued at nearly $100,000.

Hear from some of the past Calling All Dreamers winners and their journeys through the competition so you can get a better insight as to what the competition is all about and why applying changed the lives of these local dreamers forever.

Andy’s Candy Apothecary, 2013 Winner

How did you hear about the competition and why did you enter?

A friend of mine who knew of my fondness for great candy and who had come along with me and my wife to the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco suggested it to us. I had been talking idly about starting a small side business up until that point. I entered mostly because it seemed like the right opportunity to push me along, although at the time I didn’t think much about winning it.

Allspicery, 2015 Winner

What is special about Downtown that made you want to open a business here?

Sacramento is special in that it is a city rich in history, but also one that is currently going through a period of rapid change and urban development. The city has a vibrant farm-to-fork foodie culture, and the King’s arena is revitalizing Downtown and bringing even more retail business. The establishment of Allspicery in the bustling downtown area not only highlights Sacramento’s foodie scene, it is elevating the city’s cultural standing.

 Oblivion Comics & Coffee, 2016 Winner

How did Calling All Dreamers contribute to your success?

Prior to the competition, we had a basic business plan but we didn’t know what to do next. We found ourselves lost and just stuck. We decided to enter the competition specifically for the resources and access to a business mentor that would help point us in the right direction. We never really figured we’d go all the way, but we never really wanted to lose either. Oblivion is a little more complicated than an average retail or coffee shop so opening may have taken several more years if not for the help we’ve received through Calling All Dreamers. Not only has the prize package of services come to our rescue, but also our fellow competitors. Calling All Dreamers has allowed us to connect with an amazing group of people that have helped us with every step and vice versa.

 Milk House Shakes, 2017 Winner

What does winning the competition mean for you?

Winning the competition means so much for Milk House Shakes. This gives me the opportunity to pursue my dreams and bring something unique to my community. The resources and support from the competition will allow me to share my passion for milkshakes and history and become a successful Sacramento business.

NEO Escape Room, 2018 Winner

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about entering the Calling All Dreamers competition this year?

The best piece of advice we could give to someone who’s thinking about entering Calling All Dreamers is to stop thinking about it and just go all in! Your business concept will emerge and be refined through the process. If you’re already doing business and have a fairly refined concept, then Calling All Dreamers will help take your current business to the next level. Dive into the competition head first and commit to seeing it through no matter how hard it gets.

Update: Neo Escape Rooms will open this fall at 1124 2nd Street at the Old Sacramento Waterfront.

If you have a unique and innovative business idea apply today and get one step closer to achieving your dreams. For more information about how to apply head over to and submit your big idea today!