Say hello to Momentum’s inaugural class.
Yesterday, cannabis entrepreneurs were invited to Eaze headquarters in San Francisco. What they didn’t know is that on arrival, they would each receive $50,000 as part of the Momentum business accelerator, a joint venture by Eaze and our partners at Ultranative and Bail Capital to cultivate the growth and success of underrepresented cannabis business founders.
Their winning applications earned them a spot in Momentum’s inaugural class — together, they’ll be undergoing a ten-week education program led by 40 industry volunteer experts and get access to Eaze’s unparalleled ecosystem of business, marketing, and retailer resources.
“It’s a major and important step forward and we are excited to kick the program off with these dedicated founders,” says Jennifer Lujan, Director of Social Impact at Eaze.
The lucky winners are:
- Reese Benton: Posh Green Collective (San Francisco)
- Cynthia Boedihardjo: NEWERA (San Francisco)
- Luz De La Riva: Luz De La Riva (Oakland)
- Nancy Do: Endo Industries (San Francisco)
- Raeven Duckett and Demetrius Robinson: Community Gardens (Oakland)
- Amber Senter: Breeze Distro (Oakland)
- Carolina Vazquez Mitchell: dreamt (Los Angeles)
- James Victor and John Alston: James Henry (San Francisco)
- Adrian Wayman: Green Box (Portland)
- Carlton Williams: New Life CA (Oakland)
After the ten-week course, participants will pitch their businesses to industry-defining investors for the opportunity to raise additional funds.
“Momentum shows how cannabis businesses can take real, practical steps to support diversity, inclusion, and equality,” says Lujan. “It’s a major and important step forward and we are excited to kick the program off with these dedicated founders.”
The Momentum program, announced in October, received 133 applications; the final ten were selected by Momentum’s Advisory Committee based on a combination of potential for success, lived experience, and current barriers to market entry.
With only 17% of executive positions within cannabis businesses held by minorities, people of color and other disadvantaged communities are vastly underrepresented in industry leadership roles. The goal of the Momentum program is to bring the community together to build a diverse and equal industry, and to help those who were historically marginalized or victimized by the War on Drugs.
Eaze’s social impact work also includes a partnership with Code for America to help clear 250,000 low-level criminal offenses; a permanent 25% discount for U.S. veterans; and partnerships with Success Centers SF and the SF AIDS Foundation, among others.