(November 19, 2019) New York – PRESS RELEASE – Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) and Merida Capital Partners announced the winning recipients of investment through the Inclusive Industry (i2) Accelerator, which will deploy $500K initially to fast-track the development of five minority-owned businesses. MCBA and Merida launched i2 earlier this year to accelerate the development of minority-owned businesses in the cannabis and hemp industry by creating a meaningful executive mentorship program for underserved communities that could increase diversity and inclusiveness in key networks within the cannabis ecosystem and develop an infrastructure for entrepreneurs seeking capital.
“Our i2 Accelerator with Merida is a historic step towards creating a diverse, representative cannabis and hemp industry,” said MCBA President Jason Ortiz. “People of color have suffered from disproportionate enforcement of cannabis laws and have high barriers to entry and success in the hemp and cannabis industries. i2 provides companies with rigorous executive mentorship and critical resources to place them in the best possible position to successfully scale their enterprises and remove those barriers.”
“We are so proud to support these meritorious businesses and begin a sustained effort to close the inclusion gap for aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs in disadvantaged communities. The quality and number of applicants gave us confidence that this program will create incredible value for minority operators, investors and the industry at large, motivating us to significantly increase our target investment amount, so not one, but five minority-owned businesses could participate in the i2 Accelerator in this first round,” said Merida Capital Partners Managing Partner Mitch Baruchowitz.
Vega Holdings; Meriden, CT; $150K Investment: Vega Holdings is the only Latino-owned holder of a Connecticut pilot hemp license, operating in Meriden, Connecticut with indoor and outdoor facilities that produce high-quality CBD and biomass. Luis Vega, a seasoned farmer and grower with an MBA and experience in the hospitality industry, returned to his family’s roots in farming to found Vega Holdings and will use his investment to significantly scale his existing hemp farming operation and product manufacturing.
High Road: Washington, D.C.; $100K Investment: High Road is an app-driven delivery platform that provides patients and consumers with access to licensed cannabis products through safe, convenient and compliant delivery services. The integrated, on-demand software company was founded by Jennifer Snowden, a former real estate and interior design executive turned entrepreneur. In addition to advocating for expungement and smart policy reforms, High Road hires and trains those convicted