Applications open for Canadian marijuana business accelerator

Budding cannabis entrepreneurs in Canada have a new resource to help get their businesses launched, thanks to some established players in the nation’s marijuana industry.

Leaf Forward, which claims to be the country’s first cannabis business accelerator program, will provide early stage ancillary businesses with mentoring, networking and learning opportunities. The program doesn’t provide seed money.

Applications for Leaf Forward are due by Aug. 31. The first session will be held Sept. 14.

The daylong program will involve leaders from some of the heavyweights in Canada’s cannabis industry: Canopy Growth Corp, which trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange as WEED; Cannabis Wheaton (TSX Venture: CBW); Ample Organics and others.

The entrepreneurs will spend a day with industry experts and senior managers who advise on everything from law and finance to marketing and sales.

While capital has poured in for licensed producers, industry leaders have said Canada’s ancillary cannabis industry is in need of a shot in the arm ahead of the anticipated legalization of adult-use cannabis next summer.

“As the cannabis industry matures, innovative ancillary products and services will be needed to add value across the supply chain, touching everything from increasing a Licensed Producer’s yield, to improving ease of use for patients,” John Prentice, founder and CEO of Ample Organics, said in a news release.

Similar accelerator programs exist in the United States through Canopy (no relation to Canada’s Canopy Growth) and Arcview Group.