$20K grants available to 5 N.J. minority-owned cannabis businesses

Updated Jul 02, 2021; Posted Jul 01, 2021
By NJ Cannabis Insider staff

A leading technology company in the cannabis space is providing $20,000 grants to five minority-run businesses in New Jersey in an effort to boost their chances of winning future licenses to grow and sell cannabis.

Cognitive Harmony Technologies Accelerator has received a $100,000 fund from Pangaea Health and Wellness to be applied for scholarships to put five social equity cannabis license applicants in New Jersey through its accelerator program.

Winners will be selected from a pool of qualified applicants identified by CHT Accelerator partners NJ Cannabis Insider and the New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce.

“The N.J. State Veterans Chamber of Commerce is actively seeking veterans to qualify for this amazing scholarship with Harvest 360. To date, the state has not awarded any veterans a cannabis license and we are hoping this changes through this scholarship,” said the chamber’s CEO and founder Jeff Cantor, a retired U.S. Army colonel.

CHT Accelerator, with offices in New Jersey and New York, is a joint venture by a team of cannabis business veterans who are software engineers and Harvest 360 Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blue Diamond Ventures Inc.

“CHT Accelerator was designed by successful license applicants to level the cannabis business playing field for social equity applicants as they apply for licenses and operate their businesses,” said David Serrano, managing partner for CHT. “This generous donation can help expedite applicants’ acquisition of industry knowledge and improve their chance of entering — and succeeding — in New Jersey’s cannabis industry.”

The CHT Accelerator provides templates, training guides and high-intensity coaching sessions developed by cannabis industry professionals to quickly educate social equity cannabis license applicants on the intricacies of the cannabis license application process and business operations.

The goal, Serrano said, is to enable applicants who have been negatively impacted by the War on Drugs to earn top scores and win New Jersey state cannabis licenses. To apply for the NJ Cannabis Insider-partnered scholarship, go here. Deadline to apply is July 19 by 11:59 p.m.

“It’s part of NJ Cannabis Insider’s mission to elevate minority operators in the cannabis space,” said Enrique Lavin, publisher and editor of NJ.com’s weekly cannabis trade journal and business events group. “We are honored CHT chose our media group to partner for this very important work.”

Beyond the $100,000 no-strings-attached sponsorship, Pangea Health is dedicating 20,000 square feet of space as a cannabis business incubator and education center, said Larry Frascella, COO of Pangaea Health and Wellness. The idea, he said, is to provide free support to social equity businesses, and microbusinesses, as well as low interest loans, a dispensary accelerator program, employment opportunities and more.

“The cannabis license application process can be overwhelming, particularly for applicants that may have more limited resources than their well-established competitors,” said Frascella, a longtime executive for BizLender . “As a New Jersey cannabis license appellant, this donation to CHT Accelerator is follow-through on our supplemental submission commitment to provide free resources to educate minority, women, and disabled veteran cannabis license applicants whose representation in the New Jersey cannabis market is required by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (Act).”

Pangaea Health and Wellness, based in Jersey City, is one of the six applicants disputing the 2018 license application awards. Harvest360 has partnered with NJ Cannabis Insider to offer scholarships to minority applicants for several of its industry events this year, including a networking event in July and a day-long conference in September.

The CHT Accelerator application platform provides up-to-the-minute application templates, guides and coaching tailored to each state’s current regulation. The CHT Accelerator also has developed and beta tested in Illinois a fair and unbiased mechanism to score applications that is customizable to each state’s applications.

Qualified businesses should apply by going to this link. Winners will be announced at the end of the month.