First participants made up exclusively of women, economic empowerment, and minority owned small businesses.
MASSACHUSETTS: Sira Naturals, a Massachusetts-based registered marijuana dispensary (RMD) group, has accepted the inaugural class of applicants into the Sira Accelerator program, its small-business accelerator designed to help entrepreneurs navigate and succeed within the emerging regulated cannabis industry.
From an initial response of more than 400 applicants, three groups were chosen based on the quality of the teams and viability of the products. The three companies include: Healing Tree Edibles, a women-owned producer of craft cannabis infused edibles and pet snacks based on Cape Cod; Hothouse Holyoke, an aspiring craft cannabis cultivator and product manufacturer based in the disproportionately impacted community of Holyoke; and 612 Studios, an Economic Empowerment applicant based in Boston that produces a women’s and couples’ cannabis infused product line.
“We looked at hundreds of inspiring and enthusiastic entrepreneurs during our application process, and these three successful applicants have demonstrated a vision and dedication to their work that is second to none,” said Michael Dundas, president and chief executive officer of Sira Naturals. “Sira Naturals is grateful to have the opportunity to share what we have learned throughout our journey as an organization, and to accelerate these small businesses to enormous success. Many of the other groups that applied showed tremendous potential and we hope to work with many of them in the future.”
“We are very excited about this opportunity and I can’t wait to start working,” said Leah Samura, one member of the husband and wife team that makes up 612 Studios. “As an Economic Empowerment applicant, the barriers to entry in the cannabis industry are extremely high. This program is so unique and valuable in how it can help our company make the transition to the regulated marketplace.”
“When we moved to Massachusetts we deliberately chose Holyoke as our new community,” said Audrey Park, co-founder of Hothouse Holyoke which has applied to the Cannabis Control Commission for Cultivation and Product Manufacturing licenses. “We believe that the cannabis industry has the economic potential to give back to disproportionately impacted communities and we want to be a part of this movement.”
“This is truly a historic moment in the cannabis industry,” said Michelle Bennett, founder of Healing Tree Edibles. “For a small business like mine, the Accelerator offers the potential to reach a much wider market than I could achieve on my own,” she said. Healing Tree currently manufactures cannabidiol-infused pet treats.
The goal of the program is to provide cannabis entrepreneurs an immediate path-forward in product development, slicing through barriers to entry, and accelerating them to profitability. The Sira Accelerator provides access to world-class lab technology, workspace, and executive mentorship. Additionally, each small-business receives an allotment of Sira Naturals-produced cannabinoid substrate, or cannabis oil, that is invaluable to product development, and often the most prohibitive hurdle for these small businesses to overcome.