The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) and Merida Capital Partners (Merida)announced the launch of the Inclusive Industry (“i2”) Accelerator, a program designed to: fast-track the development of minority-owned businesses in the burgeoning cannabis industry by creating meaningful executive mentorship for minorities; increase diversity and inclusiveness in key networks within the cannabis ecosystem; and develop an infrastructure to assist entrepreneurs without access to traditional financial support.
“The MCBA mission is geared directly to advancing the strategic business partnerships and programs that provide actual entry into the cannabis industry for more than 2.5 million minorities, who have borne the economic, physical and mental brunt of the War on Drugs,” said MCBA President Shanita Penny. “We are excited to launch our partnership with Merida and look forward to working with their team and others as we continue to explore ways to ensure the most inclusive cannabis industry possible.”
“Our goal is to empower minority entrepreneurs with tools, resources and the relationships necessary to grow their business in a highly competitive industry that requires it,” said Merida Capital Partners Managing Partner Mitch Baruchowitz. “We will help open up new doors and support i2 capital recipients’ business by working closely with MCBA to help place the candidate in the strongest possible position to scale their enterprise.”
During the three-month program i2 recipients will experience:
- access to MCBA-Merida executives, connections and networking opportunities;
- consistent, in-person, high-level mentorship and training from experts in and outside of the cannabis industry;
- a minimum investment of $50,000 from Merida;
- designated working space located in Merida’s New York City office;
- unmatched visibility into disruptive trends, proprietary research, data and tools;
- exposure to Merida’s broad team of leaders, portfolio companies and advisors; and
- advice on managing growth, team development, investor relations, governance and strategic planning.
“We leveraged our hands-on experience developing powerful social equity programs that begin to address the harm America’s prohibitionist policies cause disenfranchised communities to create i2,” said EntreVation Co-Founder Todd Hughes, who is helping spearhead MCBA’s i2 efforts. “Together with MCBA and Merida, we applied lessons learned on the frontlines to create a program for minority entrepreneurs that provides tools, mentorship and access to capital needed to make their vision a reality.”
Merida and MCBA are seeking underrepresented entrepreneurs with operational startups in the cannabis industry, who are looking to grow their existing business. Applicants should be driven, dedicated and able to work out of Merida’s NYC headquarters for a minimum of seven days per month for three months. Businesses, particularly those focused on ancillary verticals, healthcare and wellness and minority-focused services and products are encouraged to apply. i2 will be accepting applications from June 15 to July 15, 2019. Selected i2 applicants will be notified by August 15, 2019. For more information, please visit: www.i2accelerator.com.
About Minority Cannabis Business Association
The Minority Cannabis Business Association is the first non profit business league created specifically to strengthen the cannabis industry by increasing diversity. The MCBA’s mission is to create equal access and economic empowerment for cannabis businesses and their patients & consumers, by designing policy considerations, social programming and outreach initiatives to achieve equity for the communities most affected by the war on drugs. For more information visit: www.MinorityCannabis.org.
About Merida Capital Partners
Merida Capital Partners is a private equity firm targeting fundamental growth drivers which accelerate the rapid development of the cannabis and hemp industries. Merida’s motto, Responsible Investing across the Cannabis Ecosystem, highlights its focus on cultivation technologies, products and services associated with the evolution of cannabis and hemp as agricultural products, plant-based medicines, constituents in pharmaceutical formulations and recreational consumer products. For more information, visit www.meridacap.com or follow us on Twitter @meridacap.