According to Leafly, the legal cannabis workforce has doubled across the state of Michigan in just one year. However, despite this growth, diversity in the emerging industry is lacking.
To help address this, Fluresh, a leading Michigan-based cannabis cultivator and processor, is launching a new business incubator—The Fluresh Accelerator—aimed at ushering in the next wave of diverse cannabis professionals.
In an effort to create a more inclusive industry statewide and beyond, the cannabis brand has selected four diverse, existing Michigan-based businesses, along with three individuals to participate in an educational mentorship program that provides skills, knowledge and resources to community members seeking opportunity through cannabis. More than 80% of the selected participants for the inaugural 2021 class of the Fluresh Accelerator program identify as being BIPOC. Fluresh opened applications for the incubator program in December 2020, with eligibility open to any individual who is a legal resident of Michigan and 21 years of age or older as of January 1, 2021.
The Fluresh Accelerator collaborates with community partners, educators, and governmental agencies to create an end-to-end curriculum that will develop the next leaders in the industry. This curriculum includes focus areas such as state and local licensure, entrepreneurship, finance, cultivation and processing, retail operations, environmental sustainability, marketing and more, all aimed to give participants the arsenal to grow their own cannabis businesses upon completion of the program.
"The Fluresh team is proud to launch this unique program in the state of Michigan, whose market is experiencing incredibly rapid growth," says Tom Benson, Chief Executive Officer of Fluresh. "We're excited to be a part of this trajectory, due in part to the dedication of our nearly 200 employees operating across facilities in Grand Rapids and Adrian. That said, with this growth, comes a responsibility to the communities we operate in, and a need to take what we're learning and share it with those that wish to join our company in this competitive field."
The Fluresh Accelerator is one of the company's important investments in dynamic programming and social equity advocacy to help everyone 'Fluresh together' and conduct business in a way that better suits the communities it serves.
"As licensed operators in the cannabis industry, we should be brave enough to acknowledge the history of cannabis in the country and those communities that were targeted and disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs," says Denavvia Mojet, Corporate Impact Strategist & Legal Compliance Manager at Fluresh. "To combat these inequities, cannabis companies need to lead by example and work to drive a new industry that is diverse and invested in social equity and justice. The Fluresh Accelerator serves that exact purpose."
Throughout the year, participants will engage in comprehensive and evolving curriculum outlined by the Fluresh team and led by industry experts and community partners.
"To be part of a mentorship program that focuses on social equity, and working with individuals seeking opportunities in the cannabis business makes me excited about the future of my business in the cannabis industry," says Fluresh Accelerator participant, Jessica Austin, owner of Creative Carvings. "With the enthusiasm of the Fluresh team and their eagerness to teach and work with us, I absolutely cannot wait to learn, thrive, and grow alongside my fellow participants."
The first Accelerator session took place on February 26, 2021, as an introduction to the Fluresh team and an overarching orientation of what to expect throughout the program's curriculum, where the participants first met each other to kick off their journey together in the accelerator. Fluresh says the Accelerator program is expected to run for as long as Fluresh is licensed for adult use operations in Grand Rapids, with new cohorts being accepted annually.
Learn more at Fluresh.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.
Photo courtesy of Fluresh.