Leaf Forward launches as first cannabis business accelerator

Published: October 6, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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The federal government will legalize cannabis for recreational use next year. While the insurance industry wrestles with the challenges the legalization will present, retailers and growers are prepping to create a new industry and economy. Leaf Forward launched on Wednesday, describing itself as “Canada’s first cannabis business accelerator”.

On launch day, Leaf Forward hosted two founder classes, allowing 12 marijuana start-ups to participate in a day of “intensive mentoring” with industry experts. The company says a broad rangeof businesses were in attendance, including cultivation products for home growth, refinement services, and licensed cultivators.

“Leaf Forward provides early-stage companies with a platform to encourage and develop innovation within the cannabis industry and we are pleased to be part of it,” said Michael Garbuz, corporate strategy and legal counsel with Ottawa-headquartered CannaRoyalty Corp. one of the Leaf Forward mentors. “As fully integrated, active investors and operators, CannaRoyalty’s participation in Leaf Forward provides us with an avenue to give back to entrepreneurs in this growing industry, while having a first look at developing cannabis businesses that may be a strategic fit with our portfolio of value-add cannabis businesses in Canada, the U.S. and globally.”

Jeffrey Stewart, co-founder of Ovandi, a Toronto business developing a smart vaporizer, added the class was “exactly what we needed at this stage in our development. Mentors provided us with solid feedback and actionable advice to move our business forward,” he said. Mike Roberts, co-founder of Sero Inc., a Calgary manufacturer of secure greenhouses for the home grower, called the event “an incredibly valuable experience.”

Participants in the inaugural Leaf Forward day also came from the United States, including a Maine-based producer of plant training and support systems.

The founders class participants included: Atlas Plant Trainer, Aura, Broccoli, Cannabis Goods, Koopeh Designs Inc., Ovandi, Greenline Systems, Grow The North, iRollie, Plant The Seed, Sero and The New High.