While some industry professionals question whether Women Grow can fully recover from its professional missteps, there are signs the company could be turning a corner.
Since May, Women Grow has cemented contracts to establish eight new “markets” – formerly called chapters – in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington DC, according to Women Grow CEO Kristina Neoushoff.
Neoushoff also said she’s been inundated with applications from women who are interested in Women Grow’s new licensing contract, which establishes a more formal relationship than in the past between the company and its chapters.
Women Grow also celebrated its third anniversary by announcing a partnership with New Frontier Data to develop a “Cannabis Industry Diversity Report.”
Jazmin Aguiar, a former national Women Grow chapter coordinator, said the company presents a solid opportunity for women entrepreneurs.
They simply have to understand the deal for what it is: a business proposal.
“This organization is very needed. Of course it has flaws in the structure, and it takes a group of committed individuals to help see it through, and I’ll definitely be one of those individuals,” Aguiar said.
Former Women Grow CEO Leah Heise is bullish on the company’s future – if certain changes are made.
She said Women Grow could morph into a “$5 billion company, very easily.”
But, she said, the company still needs serious reorganization.
Instead of relying on the chapters/markets for income, she said, Women Grow should be turned into a registered B corporation instead of an LLC, with a nonprofit 501(c)4 wing that can dedicate itself to advocacy and activism while also still selling memberships that come with benefits for those willing to pay.
“The mission of Women Grow is so big that it would be a horror to the industry if it collapsed,” Heise said.
For her part, founder Jane West said she’s “never been more excited about anything Women Grow is doing.”
“We’re still gathering on the first Thursday of every month in cities nationwide, to connect, educate and empower. And I’m very, very confident that we’re going to be doing that for years to come,” West said.
Neoushoff also noted that the new full licensing agreement was released publicly in May and is for any potential “market leaders” – the new company term for chapter chairs.
John Schroyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org