Eaze’s Momentum business accelerator invites applicants


  • Last modified: December 8, 2020

BY: Leafly

Minority business owners in cannabis have a lot up against them. They need a business plan, capital, marketing savvy, and more. For the second year in a row, Eaze is helping underrepresented business owners with what they truly need to have staying power.

Eaze’s Momentum business accelerator is the brainchild of Eaze’s Director of Social Impact, Jennifer Lujan. After a successful first year of the incubator, Jen set her eyes on scaling the program.

“We started in California and Oregon, and this year we’re focusing on including applicants from all over the country. Our advisory committee has members from different states and different areas of the cannabis industry because building strong and sustainable cannabis businesses takes a little bit of everything,” says Lujan.

The advisory committee that picks the ten winners includes buzzworthy leaders in marketing, policy, technology, and sports. Besides having cannabis in common, the group also have passion for social equity and uplifting disadvantaged communities in common. Newly-appointed committee member and former basketball player Matt Barnes spoke with Leafly about his goals as an advisor to the program.

“I think it’s hard for people that aren’t from our communities to know what our communities really need. You need people that are in tune with the community. So, I plan on utilizing exactly that,” Barnes says. “Although I’m one of the lucky ones that made it out, I have family and friends who weren’t able to. My goal is to be able to use my platform and my voice to connect like-minded people and spread the message. To really help people on the outside trying to get in know what to do when they get in.”

What’s in it for Momentum applicants?

In a 12-week experience, the ten applicants selected for Momentum’s 2021 class will get access to the resources and information that will help them not only bring their ideas to fruition, but to keep them financed and functional.

While Momentum may have been Jen Lujan’s idea, Rashad Johnson, Eaze’s governmental affairs manager, has rightfully had his own influence on the program. His past endeavors include spearheading California’s cannabis social equity law on behalf of Senator Steven Bradford.

“We wanted to avoid anything reminiscent of sharecropping with these applicants. We don’t want to set them up to flop in a few months or even a few years, and we don’t want to own their work,” says Johnson. “We connect them with our network of investors to build a sound foundation for their businesses and to help them start building generational wealth for their own communities with no strings attached.”

Every week, applicants will participate in valuable courses customized to their particular business, including courses on public and media relations, branding and marketing, pitching ideas, compliance and legal, growth and development, and equity and fundraising.

Whether applicants have their own flower brand, delivery service, or cultivation facility – the Momentum accelerator was built to help unique businesses flourish and find their footing in an industry that often lacks transparency and long-term success.

Equally as important as the education is a $50,000 business grant for each applicant. Half the money is given at the beginning of the program, and half is provided at the end. But it only comes after the applicants have delivered a business pitch in front of people that could change their lives forever. No sweat.

How to apply for the Momentum business accelerator

Aspiring applicants have until 11:59pm PST on December 15, 2020 to submit their application for Momentum 2021. The advisory committee is searching for businesses or individuals who have already secured a cannabis license or can prove that they have applied in their state.

Applicant eligibility is also based on businesses that are beyond the concept stage. The grant is for covering the costs of business, but, if you apply, your business should already be up and running.

CBD businesses must source their hemp from an entity that belongs to the Federal Hemp Pilot Program, and ancillary businesses must have a local business license where they operate.

Eaze plans to host the entirety of the 2021 program online for applicants’ safety.

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