An organization out of Edmonton is raising big-bucks to invest in cannabis-focused startups. This could transform the region into a major hub for the industry and pave the way for more marijuana accelerators in Canada.
NorthCanvas will be one of Canada’s first marijuana accelerators. The growing industry has driven excitement through-the-roof and caused investors to swoon over the potential. Now, the Edmonton based company has plans to provide $3-million to $5-million in seed money and other assistance to 30 early-stage startups over the next three years.
North Canvas Co-founder Sam Jenkins said last week that he hopes to start a 16-week boot camp in June. The camp would work on skills such as business development, planning, idea generation, and customer discovery.
“There are lots of people hoping to strike it rich in cannabis, which means lots of interesting things are happening.”
He also notes,
“We thought it would be useful for the region if we built an accelerator. I think there’s a giant opportunity here in Alberta around cannabis.”
Accelerators offer opportunity for advancement
Jenkins says he is specifically interested in neighboring industries of the marijuana sector. Areas such as agribusiness, technology, law-enforcement, and technology. These areas could provide additional uses for hemp or determine how different drivers are impaired by levels of THC.
Jenkins says the venture could help Alberta lead the world. He says,
“That could be a made-in-Alberta solution. we could then take to the world, building technology we could then export to the United States, to Australia, to Germany.”
For Jenkins, the potential for the Alberta market is not limited to the 30 companies in the cap. They are looking into the future of a global industry.
Other marijuana accelerators in Canada
Toronto’s Leaf Forward describes itself as the “first Canadian cannabis accelerator.” It holds a similar focus as North Canvas and was formed by investors last summer. Analysts predict demand will be as high as 795,000 kilograms spurring an industry value of $4-8 billion.
In addition, Glen Vanstone, vice-president for trade and investment at the Edmonton Economic Development Corp., said there’s good potential to develop companies in the region involved in hemp and marijuana.
“There’s this growing awareness of the business community of the growth potential for the market, we want to lean into it more.”