Cresco Labs Seeks Innovative Cannabis Startups In Chicago As Part Of Social Equity Initiative - Cresco Labs (OTC:CRLBF)

Multistate cannabis operator Cresco Labs CRLBF will be an anchor partner in the Cannabis Innovation Lab, a venture launched at Chicago startup house 1871 to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in the city’s cannabis industry.

Cresco will provide technical assistance to new licensees just getting started in cultivation, new product development, wholesaling and retailing.

The initiative seeks to boost equity and inclusion in the cannabis industry, informed GMR.

“Part of Cresco Labs’ efforts around social equity have always included providing access to capital or capital to new licensees, and other forms of support and technical assistance,” said Chima Enyia, executive vice president of Seed, Cresco Labs’ social equity initiative. “The whole effort here is to cement Illinois as a hub and a headquarters, essentially for cannabis and a leader in innovation for cannabis around the country.”

“Chicago has become the hub of the cannabis industry,” noted Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871. “Demand is high. Startups and large corporations are asking for it.”

Cannabis Innovation Lab

The Cannabis Innovation Lab connects cannabis startups that want to scale their businesses with companies of all sizes. The Lab catalyzes mentoring, collaboration and potential investment opportunities.

Local media reported the first industry program focused on the supply chain “was launched in June with Accenture and World Business Chicago and attracted 40 early-stage companies from 13 countries.”

Brad Spiirrison co-founder of Grown In, a company that offers vendor and compliance training for cannabis employees, will supervise the program including a business accelerator component. Spiirrison hopes to attract startups and existing cannabis companies, as well as consumer products companies.

The 12-week Cannabis Innovation Lab program starts in January and will lead up to the Cannabis Innovation Summit featuring panel discussions and networking sessions. There is no fee for startups. Growth-stage companies are encouraged to pay $5,000 to $15,000.

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