Nevada City, CA – Nevada County Board of Supervisors has named the local nonprofit group Sierra Commons as one of three grant recipients who will receive funds to bolster economic development in the region. 

Sierra Commons will receive a Community and Economic Resiliency Grant to support a new Business Accelerator program focusing on starting technology businesses that leverage gigabit broadband internet connections. 

“As the Business Accelerator program grows, so will opportunities for tech entrepreneurship — allowing career mobility for younger people entering the workforce, women interested in high-tech jobs, long-time residents and newcomers alike,” said Sierra Commons Executive Director Robert Trent. 

The funding will help Sierra Commons establish a hub of innovation and growth through focused outreach and networking events and provide an inspirational space for technology-based startups. An executive advisory panel of industry-specific professionals will be available to startups. 

“We have seen people choosing to relocate here through remote work opportunities not available previous to the pandemic. If we hope to maintain this talented workforce, it is essential for us to create support for those who consider becoming tech entrepreneurs,” said Stuart Baker, Executive Director, Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. 

Sierra Commons Business Accelerator program will bring next-level opportunities to high-tech innovators in Nevada County with a goal of launching two to three scalable companies by the end of 2024. These startups will create high-paying local jobs, contribute taxes and help ignite Nevada County’s technology sector. 

With the new funding, Sierra Commons will attract entrepreneurs starting high-growth companies, cultivate a network of investors, and establish relationships with sector-specific mentors. The grant will also help Sierra Commons complete network infrastructure and facility upgrades—including privacy measures, IT equipment, software licensing, and engineering to increase broadband performance. The Accelerator programs prioritize services for women disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. 

Tim Yamauchi - Harvard Business School MBA and Inside The Mountain Consulting founder, brings deep technology experience to Sierra Commons entrepreneurs.
Tim Yamauchi – Harvard Business School MBA and Inside The Mountain Consulting founder, brings deep technology experience to Sierra Commons entrepreneurs.

Starting in 2009, Sierra Commons became the first coworking space in the Sierra Nevada and the only 501c3 nonprofit coworking facility in Nevada County. Sierra Commons offers professional office space, gigabit broadband, education, and one-to-one advising. Sierra Commons’ coworking community includes a talented mix of contractors and remote high-tech workers. 

“The Sierra SBDC is excited to support the Business Accelerator, a program designed to elevate the tech economy, support entrepreneurs, and cultivate a strong support system for Nevada County residents seeking to start and grow businesses,” said Jessica Carr, Director of the Sierra Small Business Development Center at Sierra Business Council.  

The pandemic spurred innovation in telehealth, emergency preparedness, distance learning, and telework. Sierra Commons sees opportunity in these and other sectors and will focus on incubating businesses with high-growth potential. 

“With Community and Economic Resiliency Grant funding, Sierra Commons will have the capacity to expand its services and help Nevada City prepare for the next technology boom,” said Sean Grayson, City Manager for the City of Nevada City. 

Sierra Commons will receive $36,000 as part of the county-issued grant. Nevada County Economic Resource Council (ERC) and Grass Valley Downtown Association were also named as grant recipients at the May 24 Board of Supervisors meeting. 

Many tech-oriented professionals are relocating to Nevada County and finding the services they need to work remotely at Sierra Commons. With access to a network of ingenuity and commerce, entrepreneurs interested in launching companies find the tools and resources they need, including a pool of local executive mentors. “Angel investors” and community supporters are also growing opportunities for local tech startups. 

“Sierra Commons has been helping innovators start and grow their enterprises for thirteen years. We’re nurturing a community and becoming a technology hub in Nevada County, where professionals gather and share ideas. We’re excited about the future and where we are headed next,” said Robert Trent.

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