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Young innovators' outlook

What the future holds for young innovators.

Sacramento has for several years been attracting new residents to the region, says Cameron Law, executive director of the Carlsen Center, one of the key catalysts for Mentor Sacramento. The combination of high rents in other cities and an increasing amount of flexibility in companies’ work from home policies draws thousands of new people to the city in refuge from the expensive Bay Area, Silicon Valley and other major metropolises. “There’s a net migration,” Law says. “We’re really growing and attracting talent and building our community.”

The unique mixture of urban living and a small town feel will continue to be a draw over the next decade, Law says, which makes Sacramento a wise bet for building businesses. AZ Nicdao runs a fintech startup based near the city. There’s ample support, both at Sacramento State where he attends school and in the city as a whole. “When I started getting plugged into the entrepreneurial Sacramento ecosystem, there are big partners here,” he says. “You start to realize there’s a lot of good going on here in terms of nonprofits, people trying to help startups. The city is really trying to push ideas forward and make people better entrepreneurs.”

2020 has seen more people displaced in the world than ever before, record levels of unemployment, in search of new opportunities. “Entrepreneurship is not just a ‘nice to have,’ anymore,” says Anita Ramachandran, executive director of MicroMentor. “This is no longer reserved for only the people who have that fire in their belly.”

This trend will continue into the foreseeable future, especially for young people, as traditional 9 to 5 jobs grow scarce. With the proper guidance, that can be a good thing. “We want to encourage this creativity,” Ramachandran says.

Mentorship is an important part of navigating the future, because mentors can deploy a wealth of experience to anticipate upcoming changes, and help young innovators prepare for what’s next. “We want to be able to tap into a network of young innovators who are actually coming up with ideas not being done in the same way as existing businesses. We want to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit and by extension increased opportunity.

Mentor Sacramento is an innovative and inclusive partnership between the City of Sacramento and MicroMentor, the online business mentoring platform that connects diverse small business owners to volunteer business mentors. Learn more.