How Prosper Portland Supports Entrepreneurs of Color with Recreational Cannabis Funds
For fiscal year 2021-2022, the Portland City Council allocated $1.2M in Recreational Cannabis Tax funds to Prosper Portland, to be used specifically for programs and activities that support businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and all entrepreneurs of color. The funds are used to assist businesses via culturally specific providers, relief grants, and the Mercatus Collective/My People’s Market.
How the City’s Cannabis Funding is Allocated to Bureaus
Access to capital for 20+ BIPOC-owned cannabis businesses
25+ BIPOC-owned cannabis businesses receive assistance to find resources and help navigating the industry
A culturally specific accelerator serves 5-10 cannabis entrepreneurs with technical education and support for their launch
50% of the businesses are Black-owned
25% of the business owners have been arrested for cannabis
25% of the business owners identify as LGBTQIA+
Small Business Digital Divide & E-commerce Adaptations
50 BIPOC-owned businesses receive digital marketing support and small grants to increase sales and diversify sales channels
Hosting 120 BIPOC-owned businesses at My People’s Market to provide selling and marketing opportunities
Increasing e-commerce sales for 75 My People’s Market vendors
Supporting 25 businesses in accessing e-commerce which would otherwise not sell online
Inclusive Business Resource Network (IBRN), Mercatus & My People’s Market
$103,000 for My People’s Market/Mercatus is the primary funding for the project’s base operations, including the operational costs of multiple markets per year, seasonal activations, and staff time. Currently 835 businesses are listed on the registry. Including overlap between multi-racial business owners who identify as 2 or more of these identities, approximately 502 identify as Black or African American, 237 identify as API, 236 identify as Latinx, and 127 identify as Native/Indigenous.
$348,593 of ongoing funds for the IBRN are disbursed through existing annual contracts with culturally specific business technical assistance providers. While these cannabis funds make up only 15% of the IBRN’s overall budget, 75% of network services support entrepreneurs of color. The network serves more than 1000 entrepreneurs per year.
NuLeaf Project’s mission is to build intergenerational wealth via the legal cannabis industry for the communities disproportionately harmed by cannabis criminalization – Black, Indigenous, and Latina/o/x communities. NLP’s programs are designed to increase success outcomes for people of color in the cannabis industry either as business owners or professionals.
The Inclusive Business Resource Network (IBRN) is a citywide program that brings multiple services for small business into a single network for entrepreneurs. Approximately 1,000 businesses are served through IBRN each year, with the goal of serving more than 70% entrepreneurs of color and more than 50% female entrepreneurs.
Mercatus is a business directory and story archive that elevates the unique and universal narratives of entrepreneurs of color in Portland and connects the city and region with local talents, businesses, services and products that come from diverse entrepreneurs.
My People’s Market is a collaborative event organized by Travel Portland and Prosper Portland. The marketplace intends to advance opportunities for business owners of color by connecting them to the travel industry and other professionals who can help expand and scale their businesses.