Women grow is a network of legal marijuana industry professionals in North America. They aim bring more number of women in this unexplored sector. The idea came into picture when a group of women leading Colorado’s Cannabis industry realized the importance of bringing other women into the sector, but failed in doing so.
Founder Jazmin Hupp used to work for Women 2.0, which encourages women to become technology venture-backed founders of large-scale companies. She explains, “The story of a higher percentage of success among male entrepreneurs in North America has already been written and investors generally stick to that. Women still get only 6-7 percent of the venture capital funding in the Silicon Valley.”
Cannabis industry is not a new one; it is in its transition period that is from absolute stigmatisation to tolerated legal use. IN US some states allow marijuana for medical purpose, but the federal Law prohibits it. In Canada Medical Marijuana is legal and the prime minister has also promised to legalise the substance for personal consumption.
As the contracting laws co-exist, Working in this sector is highly controversial. However the legal market in US is only as large as $ 5billion and if added to the illegal it reaches to $ 50 billion.
We’ve been looking at the cannabis industry where there isn’t a lot of investment and there isn’t any loan because banking’s not allowed yet. We want to take advantage of that and tell a very different story about who was successful before big investments came in.
Women Grow founded by Jazim and Jane is a team of five and several contractors. They believe that women can play a dominating role in this industry because 80% of healthcare decisions and made by women who control 85% of consumer spending. They are supported by Chapter Chairs, who are responsible for Women Grows local presence in dozens of cities in the US and Canada. Their team is open to anybody and aim to connect individuals from different backgrounds, provide the environment for new business ideas to happen, and educate participants about changes in regulations and market fluctuations. The attendance to the events is for charge, which help the Women Grow team break-even. “Our operating budget comes from membership,” explains Jazmin. In 2014, its first year of existence, the group had 15 Founding Members who committed $3,000 each, making the team’s starting budget. In their second year, they had 50 members committing $5,000 apiece.
Jazmin says the benefits of becoming an owning member are tangible and intangible in equal measure.
“On the intangible side, people are supporting us because they want an industry that’s safe, that’s ethical, and that considers the needs of women and families. They want cannabis to be marketed as a positive product for all, rather than only for one type of consumers. On the tangible side, they’re building up their network of professional players; they find best leadership and costumers for their businesses; and get social media promotion from us.”
As the legal cannabis in industry is in its growing phase, the competition is supportive rather than being obstructive.Jazmin says, “What’s really cool now is to see very different groups entering the industry with the aim of diversifying it as much as possible. There are some supporting women of colour, other helping people formerly been in prison for marijuana-related crimes to get licence and run legal businesses. So the competition doesn’t really matter to me because it’s all good, we’re all creating the industry together and the more we are the more space there is for diversity in the future.”
After all venturing in an unexplored industry raises questioner attitude among crowd. Jazim mentioned that when they started their works it was termed as very niche thing and now people say that they are doing many things, they must narrow themselves.
Jazim says that it will be hard for the women grow to scale out of US recalling about an episode that happened in one of her visits to Germany. The team had organized an event at the Hemp Museum in Berlin where they explained benefits of starting up a business in the Cannabis industry and the women present there laughed at it.
Jazmin ascribes this scepticism to the lower tendency of becoming entrepreneurs among Europeans. “In the US starting a business is not easier but it’s more common. Requirement are so high in Europe!” For the moment, she continues, “We’re going to focus where we can have lot of easy wins.”
While she added “The right choice is something you’re so passionate to do that you’re going to do it even if you don’t make any money, and that you would do it even if you are gonna be sent to jail for that.” Her statement explains the current atatus of legal cannabis industry which can give you either extreme failure or success more than any other existing start up would.