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Black CannaBusiness CEO Intensive Partners with Parallel on National Education Series

Gaby M. Rojas

Black CannaBusiness (BCB) and Parallel are collaborating on a national education series aimed at CEOs of color in the cannabis industry. The Black Cannabusiness CEO Intensive Program is a free, six-week, executive training program for cannabis business owners, featuring both virtual and in-person workshops and training. The initiative began with a Northeast cohort in Boston on 4/20 of this year and is now heading to Chicago to work with entrepreneurs from the Midwest.

Minority cannabis business owners will participate in a two-day in-person session with cannabis founders and professionals, completing structured exercises and receiving expert mentorship from leading subject matter experts and practitioners in the industry.

Developed by Brandon L. Wyatt Esq. and Todd Hughes, Co-founders of the BCB CEO Intensive, the curriculum draws on the experiences of advisors and business leaders in the industry from across the country. In addition to the two-day intensive in-person session, the course also includes twice-a-week virtual training sessions, providing robust tools to catapult minority owners to the next level.

An instructor in the program, Todd Hughes says access to knowledge is fundamental for new business owners in the space. “Increasing BIPOC ownership in cannabis is what we, the BCB Team stands for. The goal is to provide each cohort with access to foundational knowledge, a network, and the capital needed to excel in business. We are already seeing the seeds that we’ve planted in the Northeast cohort beginning to bear fruit,” says Hughes.

With their ‘hands-on’ industry experience and advocacy, BCB Instructors understand the barriers to entry for cannabis business owners. With the personalized and open format learning process, program participants will increase their knowledge and real-world application.

“It is one thing to seek a cannabis business education, but one focused on minority executives is unique and vital. Learning styles are important, and these minority business owners and executives deserve to have minority facilitators like the BCB team to provide a pathway to success as they define their business,” says Brandon L. Wyatt Esq.

Partnering with a multi-state cannabis company like Parallel provides an extra level of industry insight for entrepreneurs. Additionally, this paring is a unique way to increase participation in the industry through access and business connections.

“Members of the Northeast cohort are continuing to enhance their expertise virtually, while the Midwest cohort kicks off in person in Chicago. It’s encouraging to tap into each region and watch the collaboration of an established cannabis operator and BCB become a growth engine that drives minority business ownership success in the cannabis industry,” says James Jackson, senior director of Social Equity at Parallel.

The programming for the Midwest cohort also includes a panel discussion moderated by Kiana Hughes, Executive Director at Chicago NORML, on June 24. With a focus on the Illinois market, “it’s time for us to go beyond basic theoretical discussions about the concept of social equity and move on to practical solutions that enable those disproportionately affected to be full, thriving participants in the industry,” Hughes says. “This CEO Intensive does just that, and Chicago NORML is proud to be a supporter and participant.”

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