When asked about the greatest challenge of launching a successful cannabis business, BDS Analytics co-founder Elizabeth Stahura doesn’t skip a beat.
“Our biggest [hurdle] when we were first starting out was that we were coming into a very small, very insular industry as the outsiders, so we needed credibility and authenticity and we needed both of those things quickly,” says Stahura, whose Boulder, Colorado-based company provides cannabis market data and consumer insights.
“The cannabis industry is very relationship-driven... so having that sort of stamp of approval that you’ve been vetted, having a good network... is absolutely invaluable.”
For Stahura, that much-needed support (and entrepreneurial jet-fuel) came from the first-ever Canopy Boulder accelerator program offered back in 2015. The program brought she and her business partner “into the fold” of the cannabis industry, teaching them essential skills like how to build a company with “the right team in place.”
“Not to make this sound like an ad for Canopy, but I really can’t stress enough how important being part of the accelerator program was for us, mostly because it brought us into that network and introduced us to the right people.
“Whether you choose to go through an accelerator program or you find another way to quickly create that network... I can’t say enough how important that is.”
One simple way to lay the foundation for such a network is to attend Canopy’s JumpStart conference for cannabis start-ups and entrepreneurs on May 25.
The free event – taking place at Cultivated Synergy (2901 Walnut Street) in Denver, Colorado – will teach would-be cannabusinesspeople what they need to know to launch a successful business, from how to raise capital to how to find the industry’s best opportunities and avoid the most common start-up missteps.
With guests like Natasha Irizzary of Stashbox, Genifer Murray of WomenGrow and Brendan Gillis of Vapor Slide – not to mention multiple opportunities for networking and even a flash pitch competition wherein five entrepreneurs will have the chance to win cash prizes – the event is a must-go for those hoping to break into the ever-burgeoning industry.
For her part, Stahura will walk participants through the top trends in the cannabis industry based on data collected by BDS Analytics. She says events like this are particularly important considering how “relationship-focused” the industry tends to be.
Those interested in attending the conference must apply online here.
Banner image: facebook.com/canopyboulder