October 4, 2017 by Canadian Underwriter
Leaf Forward – which describes itself as “Canada’s first cannabis business accelerator” – reported on Wednesday that it has launched successfully, hosting two founders classes, where 12 cannabis start-ups participated in a full day of “intensive mentoring” with industry leaders.
A broad range of cannabis businesses were represented, Leaf Forward said in a press release, including cultivation solutions for the home grower, extraction and refinement services for licensed cultivators as well as ancillary products for the end-user.
“Leaf Forward provides early-stage companies with a platform to encourage and develop innovation within the cannabis industry and we are pleased to be part of it,” said Michael Garbuz, corporate strategy and legal counsel with Ottawa-headquartered CannaRoyalty Corp. and a Leaf Forward mentor. “As fully integrated, active investors and operators, CannaRoyalty’s participation in Leaf Forward provides us with an avenue to give back to entrepreneurs in this growing industry, while having a first look at developing cannabis businesses that may be a strategic fit with our portfolio of value-add cannabis businesses in Canada, the U.S. and globally.”
Jeffrey Stewart, co-founder of Ovandi, a Toronto business developing a smart vapourizer, suggested that the founders class “is exactly what we needed at this stage in our development. Mentors provided us with solid feedback and actionable advice to move our business forward,” he said. Mike Roberts, co-founder of Sero Inc., a Calgary manufacturer of secure greenhouses for the home grower, called the event “an incredibly valuable experience.”
Leaf Forward participants weren’t limited to Canada, U.S. entrepreneurs also took part. Danielle Smith, co-founder of Maine-based producer of customizable plant training and support systems, added in the release that the company has the intention of making Canada a primary market. “The mentors’ expertise helped us understand the Canadian market and regulatory landscape, allowing us to chart our path ahead,” she said.
Leaf Forward founder Alex Blumenstein reported that the company will be rolling out additional programming designed to support Canada’s cannabis industry. “There’s a tremendous amount of energy and innovation across this country, we’re excited for what’s ahead,” he said.
The founders class participants included: Atlas Plant Trainer, Aura, Broccoli, Cannabis Goods, Koopeh Designs Inc., Ovandi, Greenline Systems, Grow The North, iRollie, Plant The Seed, Sero and The New High.