When can we officially declare Sacramento as no longer being a cow town? I’m pretty sure we’ve hit that milestone. Business leaders, developers and innovators are pushing boundaries they likely wouldn’t have considered even a decade ago, as can be seen on nearly every page of this month’s magazine.
The young Ramon Perez has launched Sacramento’s newest gourmet chocolate company, Puur, and he’s creating an impressive menu of sweets made from outlandish ingredients like red curry, fennel pollen and the Japanese seasoning yuzu kosho (“Chocolate with a Kick,” page 32). The results are caramels and bonbons with unexpected flavors and colors to impress even the most discerning palates. The candies are available locally at Andy’s Candy Apothecary.
Meanwhile, Ruhstaller Beer’s proprietor, J-E Paino, has decided that just brewing locally doesn’t really make his product local enough, so now he’s set upon the great effort to reestablish hops farming in Northern California (“Legacy Crop,” page 56). It’s taken the persistent twisting of skeptical arms, sweat equity and the reassembly of a 40-year-old European hops picker that arrived in parts.
Downtown, Barry Broome, the freshly appointed CEO of the new Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council, has taken the former Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization offices by storm, upending company culture and setting forth the most aggressive economic development strategy this region has seen (“Acuity,” page 38).
And finally, there’s the team of UC Davis scientists who have poured decades of research into stem cell gene therapies that might finally provide a cure for HIV. In this month’s cover story (“Unnatural Selection,” page 48), we lay out their plan to begin human trials of a therapy method that would wipe out an infected immune system and replace it with one wholly impervious to the disease. If their all works as planned, Sacramento could be put on the map as the epicenter of HIV treatment and care.
From Stockton to Solano, great ideas — risky ideas — are providing huge results. Which should have us asking, which boundaries are next? Where else should we be pushing? Consider your own business or career. Are there boundaries — perceived or real — you’ve been unwilling to approach? Think about it. Perhaps your company’s greatest limitation is your own imagination.
I read a great blog last month by Mike Maddock at forbes.com. It was an article about market disruption, and in it Maddock pressed his readers to consider the future: “If you are the leader of a company bent on innovation, the most important question you must ask your team is, ‘What business could we be in tomorrow?’ … a forward-thinking answer to this question could determine whether or not you have a future.”
You see, what Maddock and innovative leaders understand is that markets change. Customers change. Technologies change. Successful companies, successful people — they break boundaries when they harness their expertise and diversify their offerings.
I challenge you to consider your options for expansion in 2015. There are a number of community resources that can help you determine your next path. The Northern California World Trade Center can connect small businesses with export opportunities, not just for goods, but for services as well. In July, the National Association of Women Business Owners will be hosting its Entrepreneur’s Edge symposium for business owners of all levels here in Sacramento. And the Capital Region Small Business Development Center is providing access to capital for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
And, of course, stay connected to Comstock’s. It’s our mission to provide you with the resources and relationships you need to succeed.
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Indeed, tomorrow your business could go global. Whether you're a start-up or well-established, a manufacturer, software developer, or service provider, the world is open for business. To learn more about finding your global opportunities visit: www.norcalwtc.org or attend the International Business Networking Lunch on May 28, details on our website. Together the Sacramento Region can Prosper. Globally.