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Photo: Emilio Garcia
As of October 17th, 2018, the Canadian government officially legalized the use of recreational marijuana within its borders. Legalization has been a longtime coming in Canada and for decades, marijuana advocates had been fighting to end the stigma that surrounds the use of recreational marijuana.
Legalization has been welcomed with open arms by marijuana users across the country and it has opened up an entirely new area of industry for savvy entrepreneurs and startup companies to take advantage of.
In the less-than-four months since recreational marijuana has been legalized in Canada, we’ve already seen dozens of startup companies rushing in to take advantage of the new and emerging industry. For example, Canadian-based e-commerce giant, Shopify, has been commissioned to create and maintain the online marijuana sales portals for several of the country’s provinces.
Elsewhere, we are seeing countless startups trying to find new ways to bring innovation to the Canadian cannabis industry and one organization in particular, Leaf Forward, is helping to make exactly that possible for everyone.
What Does Leaf Forward Do?
Leaf Forward helps promising young startup companies get their businesses off the ground by providing them with the funding, mentorship and training necessary to compete in this newly developed industry.
In exchange for 10% equity, Leaf Forward provides eligible startups with up to $52,000 in cash, as well as $22,500 in services once a company has been accepted into the accelerator program.
For most startups, especially those in the cannabis space, which end up facing far more legal challenges than startups in other areas of industry, getting started and making a name for themselves is often the hardest part of starting a new company.
Fortunately, Leaf Forward’s accelerator program is designed specifically to help cannabis startups navigate the most challenging aspects of becoming a successful cannabis business.
So, what exactly is the Leaf Forward accelerator program?
Leaf Forward Accelerator Program
Essentially, eligible participants get four things when they join the accelerator program: funding, networking opportunities, mentor support, as well as a community of like-minded individuals who are also working in the cannabis industry.
It’s important to note that Leaf Forward has a rather impressive network of investors, mentors, experts, and leaders in the cannabis industry. In other words, their network is exactly the type of publicity needed to help cannabis startups gain a bit of traction and get things rolling.
Furthermore, the program’s team of mentors are there to work with companies to help them overcome any challenging issues they may be facing during the early phases of the company’s development.
Finally, once the program is over, Leaf Forward sits all of its startups down in front of a panel of pre-selected investors to help the startups raise their next round of funding.
Leaf Forward’s Track Record
Since Leaf Forward was first launched back in 2017, the company and its accelerator program have worked with over 40 promising cannabis startups in Canada. From growing operations, through to hemp product retailers and edible marijuana bakeries, Leaf Forward has had a steady track record of helping startups succeed.
Below, we’ll take a quick look at just 3 promising startup companies that Leaf Forward has helped in the past.
1. Atlas Plant Trainer
The Atlas Plant Trainer is a device that can be used to help cannabis growers increase their plant yields, while also making gardening easier and saving the grower money at the same time.
Essentially, the Atlas Plant Trainer is a device that clicks and connects together in order to support a growing marijuana plant. The device’s customizable shape allows you to train your plant to grow larger, instead of taller, therefore, improving the plant’s yield when it comes time to harvest.
Furthermore, the trainer is easily customizable to work with any plant or growing container and can be re-adjusted as needed throughout the plants lifespan.
Aside from helping growers get a better yield, the Atlas Plant Trainer also helps with:
- Growing with limited ceiling height. In other words, you can grow your plants wider and horizontally, as opposed to straight up.
- Avoiding contamination. The Atlas Plant Trainer is made of a UV-resistant, high-grade plastic, which can easily be sanitize by dipping the pieces into a cleaning solutions and then rinsing them with clean water.
This product can be purchased online from Atlas Plant Trainer’s website or on Amazon. You can also find a list of retailers on the company’s website.
2. Folia Essentials
Folia Essentials is a cannabis infused cosmetic company based out of Toronto, Ontario.
The company was first launched in 2016 and since then, founder Josée Duranleau has created a wide range of cosmetic beauty products made with cannabis infused ingredients, which include an anti-aging face cream, lip balm, eye serum, body lotion, topical pain relief cream, healing skin salve, as well as a cannabis infused beard oil.
Folia Essentials’ products cannot yet be purchase, as the company is still awaiting changes to be made to Canadian legislation. However, they expect their products to be available on the market in 2019.
3. The Green Grass Kitchen
The Green Grass Kitchen is based out of Vancouver, Canada, and is run by a couple who have an absolute passion for infusing herb into their foods. Together, the couple curates dozens of delicious, easy-to-make cannabis recipes, which are pre-measured, packaged and delivered directly to your front door once a month.
The company focuses on education, wellness, and empowering their customers through the many DIY cooking skills that you learn with their monthly edible marijuana kits.
Each kit comes with a variety of mouth-watering edibles from pressed granola bars and baked goodies, through to savory snacks and heart-warming drinks.
You can learn more about the company on their website or about ordering their edible kits here.
The Future of the Cannabis Industry
Keep in mind, these are just a few of the many cannabis startup companies that Leaf Forward has supported through its accelerator over the years.
With the legalization of marijuana still being a rather new phenomenon in Canada, we haven’t even begun to see the extent that innovation and tech can still bring to the Canadian cannabis industry.
And, with organizations like Leaf Forward at the forefront of the industry, Canadian startup companies now have a support system readily available to assist in getting the funding and training they need to get their cannabis-related projects off the ground.
In fact, some might even say that Leaf Forward is single-handedly paving the way for future Canadian cannabis startups.