Eaze, California’s largest marketplace for legal cannabis, was recognized today by Fast Company's 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards as a finalist in the Social Justice category. Now in its fifth year, the awards honor businesses, policies, projects, and concepts that are actively engaged and deeply committed to pursuing innovation when it comes to solving health and climate crises, social injustice, or economic inequality.
A panel of judges selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 4,000 nominees from across the globe, from Brazil to Denmark to Vietnam. Eaze will be highlighted among other winners and finalists in the Summer 2021 issue of the print magazine, which hits newsstands May 10.
"What makes Eaze world changing is our core belief that cannabis operators have a responsibility to help build a diverse and equitable industry," said Rogelio Choy, CEO of Eaze. “Momentum and our social equity menu are designed to help address historic wrongs and build wealth in communities hurt by the War on Drugs, so we’re honored to see these programs recognized.”
Launched in 2019, Momentum cultivates the growth and success of underrepresented cannabis business founders by providing access to grants, education, and capital. In its second year, Momentum received more than 250 applications from founders across 23 states and U.S. territories. Selected companies received a $50,000 grant, a 12-week business development program led by industry experts, and support from Eaze’s business, marketing, legal, and PR resources. After the 12-week program, participants pitch their businesses to industry-defining investors for the opportunity to raise additional funds.
As an extension of Momentum, Eaze also launched its Social Equity Menu and Social Equity Partners Program in 2019, a multi-point initiative to assist equity license holders who sell via the Eaze marketplace. To date, Eaze customers have purchased $6.4 million in products made by social equity partners.
“Building a cannabis brand is harder for Black, POC, and female founders because they face higher barriers to capital investment,” said Jennifer Lujan, Senior Director of Social Impact at Eaze. “These entrepreneurs are able to reach more customers, elevate their brands, and build wealth.”
Momentum is just one piece of Eaze’s focus on equity, as the cannabis leader also supports a multi-point Social Equity Partners Program to provide brands with financial and operational support to help them scale and succeed on Eaze and beyond. Products from Eaze’s Social Equity Partners are featured on the Social Equity menu available online at www.eaze.com.
Since Eaze launched its equity menu in the Bay Area and expanded to Los Angeles, social equity brands have been well received by consumers with high and consistent demand to a tune of nearly $3.7M in product sales on the Eaze platform. To learn more about Eaze’s Social Equity Partners Program, read the most recent blog post from the Head of Equity and Change at Eaze, Darius Kemp.
Eaze delivers good with the goods. As California’s largest legal cannabis marketplace, we bring enjoyment and convenience to our customers, break down barriers to access, and cultivate community in everything we do. With over seven million cannabis deliveries to date, we are committed to creating a more diverse and sustainable industry through our Momentum business accelerator and Social Equity Partners Program. www.eaze.com.
About the World Changing Ideas Awards
World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.
Known for solutions that yield results, Seth Yakatan has completed or advised on acquisitions and corporate finance transactions totaling over $3 billion. He is CEO of Katan Associates International—a financial strategy and merchant banking firm specializing in commercialization and asset monetization—especially those within life-science and e-commerce sectors.