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Press Release
June 7, 2024
3 minute read

48 Seed Equity Grant Awardees Graduate from NJEDA’s Cannabis Technical Assistance Program


TRENTON, N.J. (June 7, 2024) – A new wave of entrepreneurial talent is ready to transform New Jersey’s cannabis industry as 48 recipients of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA) Seed Equity Grant Program proudly graduated from a rigorous nine-week Cannabis Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) at a celebration held at Hub 13 in Trenton last month. This program provided targeted education and training to help advance their businesses in New Jersey’s growing cannabis industry. In addition to receiving $150,000 grants, which will be disbursed after meeting specific benchmarks, the awardees gained valuable technical assistance to support their entrepreneurial endeavors.

“Under Governor Phil Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey is creating a strong, equitable, and inclusive cannabis industry that will create jobs and revitalize communities,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “For too long, the War on Drugs has disproportionately impacted communities of color. The Seed Equity Grant was designed to support diverse cannabis entrepreneurs who have been harmed by years of unjust policies and help unlock access to the cannabis market to ensure they reap the industry’s economic benefits. I congratulate the graduates and look forward to their success in New Jersey’s cannabis industry.”

The Seed Equity Grant Program and the CTAP are part of Phase II of the Cannabis Equity Grant Program, which the NJEDA Board approved in 2022. All of the funding for Phase II was awarded to qualifying social equity applicants as designated by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, including those who live in economically disadvantaged areas or have cannabis-related convictions. The combination of training, education, and financial support further catalyzes investments in historically underserved communities and those most affected by the War on Drugs.

“We are immensely proud to see NJEDA’s Seed Equity Grant recipients graduating from the Cannabis Technical Assistance Program. Congratulations to the graduates; we look forward to your continued success and positive impact in the cannabis industry,” said Wesley McWhite III, Director, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

“It was an honor to attend and speak to the graduates of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Cannabis Seed Equity Grant Program,” said State Senator Troy Singleton.  “This program, open to recreational cannabis license holders, helps to support new businesses in this industry by assisting with their operational and start-up costs. This Seed Equity will literally set these entrepreneurs up for success and I was proud to celebrate and acknowledge their efforts.”

The NJEDA selected Oaksterdam University, a pioneering institution in cannabis entrepreneurship, to develop and administer the customized technical assistance program. The CTAP delivered curriculum on converting a conditional license to an annual license, building a cannabis business team, financial management, securing investors, supply chain management, and more. The program included in-person workshops, interactive virtual classes, online learning modules, individualized coaching, and networking opportunities.

“Oaksterdam crafted an intensive Technical Assistance Program for the NJEDA with local and national experts to help mitigate risks for long-term sustainability, and the participants leaned in. These small business owners are tenacious, and will become the backbone of New Jersey’s industry,” said Dale Sky Jones, Executive Chancellor of Oaksterdam University.

“This program really is monumental and meaningful for me. For me, I’m at the tail end and close to opening my dispensary [and] being a recipient of this grant from the NJEDA makes such a big difference,” said Tahir Johnson, grant recipient and owner of Simply Pure, located in Trenton. “Having raised money myself and being in this battle for over two years to get my business open, literally this money is coming right at the time when I need it the most, and I probably couldn’t go anywhere else for it. This money from NJEDA is going be what gets me over the finish line.”

About the NJEDA

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses, call NJEDA Customer Care at 844-965-1125 or visit https://www.njeda.gov and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn

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