She’s in charge: New accelerator looks to boost opportunities for women in cannabis

As the cannabis area quickly evolves right into a multibillion-dollar international business, women are more and more being left behind, says Amy Margolis, founder and program director of The Initiative, a newly launched, female-focused enterprise accelerator.

Here are three issues you must know concerning the venture and the problems it’s tackling:


1. A declining variety of women maintain government roles in the marijuana business.

Through networking, mentoring, government coaching and funding, the Oregon-based accelerator is on a mission to bolster opportunities and roles open to women in the fast-paced world of marijuana.

It’s a tall activity to tackle, contemplating the present panorama: The proportion of women in government roles at cannabis companies fell 9 proportion factors from 2015 to 2017, in accordance to a Marijuana Business Daily survey.

Fueling the decline, Margolis believes, is the uptick in cannabis investments from extra mainstream funding sources and elevated curiosity from “corporate America,” the place simply 23% of women held government roles in 2017 in contrast with 27% in the marijuana business.

It’s a trajectory that Margolis, who additionally based the Oregon Cannabis Association, “can’t stand” and is keen to flip round.

“This industry needs to push hard to make sure that businesses don’t get a pass on what their executive teams look like,” Margolis stated.

“We have this one short window to make sure that women are getting funded and taking the lead, but that window is closing quickly as more traditional capital and corporate America gets involved.”

2. How The Initiative works.

Starting Sept. 1, the group will start accepting purposes for up to 10 slots in the primary three-month program in January.

Chosen candidates will obtain coaching and mentorship in:

  • Strategic progress planning, pitch-deck creation and fundraising.
  • Financial fundamentals, budgets and the creation of monetary studies.
  • Team constructing and government coaching aimed toward getting ready women to step into company management positions.
  • Branding, advertising, social media and web site creation and enchancment.
  • Deal negotiation, company construction and employment regulation.

Amy Margolis, founding father of The Initiative

At the top of this system, the companies could have a chance to pitch to a gaggle of buyers who’ve made a dedication to fund female-founded companies, Margolis stated.

Investments made will probably be based mostly on every agency’s fundraising targets and wishes.

Additionally, the highest companies in every class could possibly be awarded further monetary help by this system’s prime sponsors: New York-based iAnthus Capital, a multistate cannabis agency, and Oregon-based regulation agency Miller Nash Graham & Dunn.

The group has already acquired curiosity from potential candidates from “all over the world,” together with Brazil and Germany, Margolis famous.

“I think it’s indicative of the real need for a supportive program like this,” she stated. “We want to provide the tools, training and access to funding that women need to ensure their success in the cannabis space.”

After this system, individuals might be teamed with a mentor to supply ongoing suggestions on fundraising and progress methods.

“We are doing something really unique with this and integrating the follow-on investors into the program, so the first time a company meets them will not be on pitch day,” Margolis stated.

“These will be the same people teaching them, mentoring them and coaching them throughout the accelerator program.”

three. Rising leaders in cannabis have signed on to help The Initiative.

For now, The Initiative hasn’t disclosed how a lot it has raised to launch the brand new effort.

But this system has landed backing from a “who’s who” record of rising leaders in the cannabis business and past, with board members who embrace:

  • AC Braddock, CEO, Eden Labs
  • Mowgli Holmes, CEO, Phylos Bioscience
  • Katie Kiernan, co-founder, Twyla
  • Janice Knox, co-founder, The American Cannabinoid Clinics
  • Glynis Olson, founder, Finger Bang nail salon
  • Emily Paxhia, founding associate, Poseidon Asset Management
  • Carlos Perea, chief working officer, iAnthus Capital
  • April Pride, founder, Van der Pop
  • Amanda Reiman, vice chairman of group relations, Flow Kana
  • Rick Turoczy, common supervisor, Portland Incubator Experiment

Paxhia, whose agency has greater than $25 million beneath administration and has deployed about $20 million in almost 30 cannabis corporations, stated packages corresponding to The Initiative are crucial to “help support and shine a light on female founders in the industry.”

“The Initiative is about action … about digging in and doing the work rather than just paying lip service to the movement,” she stated.

Margolis hopes to strike a stability between providing help for women entrepreneurs and delivering government coaching to prep women to climb into company management roles as she continues to construct out this system.

“The sometimes-forgotten piece of female leadership in the cannabis space is the positioning of women on boards and executive teams,” she stated.

Earlier this yr, Tilray – a British Columbia-based cultivator owned by Privateer Holdings – touted its transfer to create “one of the first majority-women-led boards in the cannabis industry.”

Beyond that, few marijuana companies have women serving in board positions.

Nearly 40% of cannabis companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada had no feminine board members or government officers in 2017, in accordance to the Ontario Securities Commission.

An evaluation by MJBizDaily of regulatory filings by 25 of the highest public cannabis corporations in Canada discovered that solely seven of the 139 individuals nominated to serve on their boards of administrators are women.

“Encouraging and supporting female founders is crucial,” Margolis stated, “but we also very much need to see women in positions of leadership in companies that they might not own and sitting on the boards of these publicly traded companies.”

Lisa Bernard-Kuhn could be reached at [email protected]


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