February 24, 2020
Funded businesses include Oregon’s only Native-owned dispensary and four cannabis businesses owned by African Americans
Five cannabis businesses owned by people of color received a total of $51,000 in grants administered by NuLeaf Project through Prosper Portland’s Cannabis Business Development Equity Program. The grants intend to address the capital gap that business owners of color face and support business growth.
NuLeaf Project, a nonprofit with a mission to help people of color build wealth in cannabis either as business owners or high-earning professionals, has entered its second year of assisting cannabis businesses owned by people from communities disproportionately targeted by cannabis prohibition. The City of Portland established the cannabis social equity grant in 2016 through a ballot measure approving a 3% cannabis sales tax with a portion of the tax to benefit communities most harmed by cannabis criminalization. Prosper Portland formed the Cannabis Business Development Equity Program in response and chose NuLeaf Project to administer the capital and business support services to businesses owned by people of color.
NuLeaf Project places a priority on supporting people from the communities targeted by cannabis criminalization: African Americans, Native Americans, and Latino Americans. The five businesses receiving grants will also receive support services from NuLeaf Project and Prosper Portland’s Inclusive Business Resource Network including business coaching, technical assistance, and mentoring. All businesses receiving grants in 2020 are majority owned by members of the priority communities; more than half have women ownership.
Year 2020 NuLeaf Project Grantees:
- Green Box is a delivery and subscription box service, the first cannabis delivery business licensed in Oregon. At the intersection of cannabis, subscription services, and e-commerce, the three-year-old business has built a loyal, high-spending customer base. This is the second year that Green Box has received a NuLeaf Project grant. Watch Green Box’s full-circle story.
- Green Hop is a northeast Portland retailer that differentiates through an experiential approach to retail and a social justice mission. Green Hop gives back through an apprenticeship program for young African Americans. This is the second year that Green Hop has received a NuLeaf Project grant.
- Magic Hour is a boutique cannabis brand producing craft cannabis flower. Currently in the launch stage, Magic Hour is focused on scaling and applying lean principles to production.
- Natural Wonders is Oregon’s only Native-owned cannabis dispensary and one of the longest-running dispensaries in the city. In a newly remodeled SE Portland location, Natural Wonders has built a cult following through innovative, exclusive product selection and knowledgeable, diverse staff.
- Rotate is a CBD beverage company that celebrates Oregon flavors through high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. The CBD-infused fresh pressed juices are available in 17 retail locations across Portland.
“Portland has no shortage of diverse, talented entrepreneurs. In year two of NuLeaf Project’s grant program, we’ve found an impressive group of innovative businesses owned by people of color to fund and support with technical assistance. NuLeaf Project’s tax-funded grants are social justice in action,” said Jeannette Ward Horton, executive director of NuLeaf Project.
The NuLeaf Project grants ranged from $5,000 to $18,000 and are the first outside funding for most of these businesses, including Natural Wonders. Natural Wonders owner and CEO Jackson McCormack said, “The NuLeaf Project grant is the jumpstart we need to launch our delivery service. These are the opportunities necessary to win in a crowded marketplace and grow our business.”
NuLeaf Project continues to accept businesses into its NuSchool program, the technical assistance and skill-building program for cannabis entrepreneurs of color. Interested entrepreneurs can apply online under the “NuSchool” section.
About NuLeaf Project
NuLeaf Project’s goal is to increase success outcomes for people of color in cannabis either as business owners or high-earning professionals. NuLeaf Project’s work is specifically designed to address the capital, education, and connection hurdles that people of color face when entering the cannabis industry. NuLeaf Project does this by granting funds to cannabis businesses, educating and upskilling cannabis entrepreneurs, and creating career pipelines for cannabis professionals with priority given to African Americans, Native Americans, and Latino Americans, the communities disproportionately targeted by cannabis criminalization. NuLeaf Project is a non-profit supported primarily by the City of Portland’s historic reinvestment (the first city to ever do so) of cannabis tax revenue into the communities most negatively impacted cannabis criminalization.