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Former NBA Player Matt Barnes Joins Eaze As Senior Advisor To The Board

Barnes’ first project will be to support Momentum business accelerator

Eaze, California’s largest marketplace for legal cannabis, today welcomed NBA champion, entrepreneur, and nationally-recognized cannabis advocate Matt Barnes as an advisor to the Board of Directors and the company on cannabis policy, social impact, and industry relations. Barnes’ first project will be to support the national launch of the second year of Eaze’s award-winning Momentum business accelerator.

Eaze’s Momentum program is an industry-defining resource that cultivates the success of underrepresented cannabis founders.

“As an advocate and athlete, Matt changed the game by normalizing cannabis in professional sports and inspiring others to be authentic about their use of the plant,” said Eaze CEO Ro Choy. “Matt’s vision aligns with our efforts to take these programs national, so I’m thrilled to welcome him as a senior advisor to our team.”

“In this election even more voters said Yes to cannabis, but that’s only meaningful if new markets elevate minority-owned businesses,” said Barnes, “I’m here to support real, tangible gains for Black and brown entrepreneurs nationally through Eaze’s groundbreaking equity programs.”

Eaze launched Momentum in 2019 and its Social Equity Menu in 2020. In September, Eaze announced its Social Equity Partners Program, a multi-point initiative to assist equity license holders. To-date, Eaze customers have purchased nearly $2 million in products made by social equity partners.

Eaze also announced today that industry leaders Kristi Palmer, co-founder of Kiva Confections, and VERTOSA Chief Innovation Officer Austin Stevenson have joined the Momentum advisory board, a world class team that also includes:

  • Malaki Amen, President and CEO, California Urban Partnership
  • Ramon Garcia, Co-founder, OEG, Padre Mu Delivery and Distribution, Sanctuary Farms LLC
  • Steven Hawkins, Executive Director, Marijuana Policy Project
  • LaWanda Knox, CEO, Make Green Go; Cannabis Technical Assistance Consultant; and President of The Allyance
  • Mary Pryor, Co-founder, Cannaclusive; Chief Marketing Officer, Tonic CBD

“Underrepresented entrepreneurs are creating massively popular brands that uplift the industry while giving back to communities hurt by the War on Drugs,” said Jennifer Lujan, Eaze’s Director of Social Impact. “They are a great investment by any measure, and that’s why we’re thrilled to launch Momentum nationwide.”

In a recent survey, 100% of last year’s Momentum participants said they’d recommend the program to other equity businesses. “Momentum has given us a tremendous amount of brand recognition across the state,” said Momentum alumnus Wassef Tawachi, chief executive officer and co-founder of Dreamt. “We were able to grow our sales by almost 40% our second month on the menu. Eaze has quickly become one of our primary retail outlets in California.”

Applications for Momentum’s 2021 class open today. Black, POC, indigenous, female, veteran and LGBTQ+ founders are encouraged to apply. Interested applicants can find more information at Eaze.com/momentum.

  • Ten businesses will be selected to receive $50,000 grants; participate in a 12-week curriculum; and access Eaze’s development, marketing, and retailer resources.
  • Participants will pitch to leading cannabis investors for the opportunity to raise additional funds.
  • The deadline for submissions is December 15.
  • 2020 Momentum sponsors include Playboy, Leune, Cann, and Vertosa.

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