NEW! LEAP Business Accelerator
Application Period: August 1 – August 31, 2021
Teams awarded an Illinois Craft Grower and/or Adult-Use Dispensary license are now eligible to apply for LEAP’s Business Accelerator. While the initial phase of LEAP was available to any and all Illinois social equity applicants, the program will now narrow to concentrate its funding and mentorship on 2-3 new licensees.
Here is what the process will look like:
- Teams awarded an Illinois Craft Grower and/or Dispensary license submit a preliminary application to enter the Bake Off. All who apply for the Bake Off may not be selected to participate. The purpose of this preliminary application is to identify teams that align with Green Thumb’s mission and values for a more in-depth, in-person evaluation during the Bake Off stage.
- The Bake Off! This is your team’s 10-minute opportunity to present an overview of your business and what makes it the right fit for Green Thumb’s incubation program. Green Thumb’s CEO, Ben Kovler, and business development experts will ask questions about your business plan.
- Business Accelerator participants will be announced no later than September 15, 2021. Green Thumb will select at least one Craft Grower and at least one Dispensary group to incubate through the LEAP Business Accelerator. Participants will receive loan funds and six months of mentorship.
The Bake Off Application is now live! Submit your completed LEAP Business Accelerator Application to firstname.lastname@example.org to apply today.
How far we’ve come . . .
LEAP launched in September 2019 as a free resource for Illinois social equity applicants looking to enter Illinois’ highly competitive regulated cannabis industry. Phase One, described below, provided pro bono guidance through the license application and deficiency notice periods. Phase Two — the LEAP Business Accelerator announced above! — will focus on getting new social equity licenses operational.
Phase 1: Round One Application Assistance
- Private Consultations and Ongoing Communication
- Each week Green Thumb’s application professionals offered 30-minute time slots for confidential one-on-one consultations. We also keep in touch with participants via frequent email blasts to share insight into newly released information, events and resources.
- Small Group Sessions
- At weekly informational sessions open to all SEAs, we explained newly released license application information, responded to frequently asked questions, and provided a networking forum for SEAs to collaborate over resources and challenges.
- Technical Guides
- Green Thumb created written application guides tailored to each license type (dispensary, craft grower, infuser, transporter). These valuable guides provide insight into the application timeline, strategy and best business practices, and are updated as appropriate.
- Tailored Presentations & Webinars
- Green Thumb’s experienced professionals and/or third parties presented hour-long information sessions focused on LEAP participants’ most frequently cited challenges, followed by Q&A. In-house and external experts volunteered their time to walk SEAs through high-priority tasks such as drafting a strong business plan, securing real estate, preparing security plans and layouts.
- Strategic Partnerships
- Green Thumb was able to leverage valuable partnerships for its LEAP applicants. This includes LEAP participant discounts and pro bono legal services from volunteer attorneys and application editing in partnership with local law schools.
What’s next for LEAP?
Green Thumb operates in over a dozen states, many of which have begun to launch new social equity licensing programs. We are in the process of exploring how to expand LEAP services to new markets. Working on a licensing assistance platform? Feel free to reach out to email@example.com.
LEAP in the News
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Twenty strangers squeeze into a small conference room in a River North loft on a Wednesday afternoon, anxious for tips and insights about how they, too, can get a piece of a marijuana industry that's set to explode after recreational sales become legal in Illinois on Jan. 1.