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North Bay Growth & Innovation Forum

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North Bay Growth & Innovation Forum is a program created by the city of Santa Rosa, California, and the city's chamber of commerce. The goal of the program is to enable the creation and growth of new businesses in the Santa Rosa area through education, mentoring and exposure to capital sources. The program matches angel or venture capital investors with aspiring entrepreneurs and/or existing businesses from start-up to mid-size.

At each forum topics may include fund raising, developing business plans and how best to leverage social media.

The NBGIF series has won regional, statewide and national awards.

History of NBGIF[edit]

In 2006, realizing that the best strategy for business growth was to encourage “home grown” companies, the City and Chamber partnered on beta-testing the Venture Communities model created by Golden Capital Network, producing the first forum in October 2006. Three subsequent events were produced with Golden Capital's assistance, and in the fall of 2008, the City and Chamber left the Golden Capital Network nest and transformed the Venture Communities model into the North Bay Growth & Innovation Forum as it is today.

Event format[edit]

Since late 2008, Forum events have included:

  • Rapid Roundtables: An opportunity to learn from experts on topics such as “Due Diligence & Negotiating the Deal,” “From Bootstrapping to Big Banks – Alternative Finance,” and “Best Practices in Internet Marketing – Leveraging SEO, Email and Social Networking;”
  • Speakers on entrepreneurism, emerging market trends, taking advantage of a down economy and a review of the local entrepreneurial market;
  • Poster exhibition from presenting entrepreneurs and selected local companies; and
  • Company investment pitches to an investor panel.

Panelists at each event award "Best in Show" to the most promising presenting companies. Past "Best in Show" winners have included Seasons Studios, Mosaic Assist, True2Life Apparel and Aethos Technologies.


  • 2007 Honorable Mention – Economic Development Programs; International Economic Development Council
  • 2008 Award of Merit for Economic Development Programs; California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED)
  • 2009 The “Light Bulb” Went On, Innovative/Entrepreneurial Spirit; North Bay Leadership Council.

Past participating companies[edit]

Over 70 companies have participated in the program and have received more than $25 million in funding as a result. A few notable companies:

  • Aeres Motors
  • Autonet
  • Barefoot Motors
  • BarspaceTV
  • Construction Exchange
  • Displaire (now Pix2O)
  • Mas Wine Company
  • Red Condor
  • Rotofactory
  • Smart Motion
  • VIDA Products
  • Wave Track

Coaching and mentoring[edit]

NBGIF provides access to experts at no charge prior to each event to assist companies in strengthening their business plans and their presentation skills. One-on-one and group training and coaching are provided well in advance of the Forum, ensuring that the participants are well prepared to present their businesses in front of a panel of prospective investors. Participants and the audience get the benefit of feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and investors.


External links[edit]

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