I had the pleasure of meeting Tre’von Dorsey, COO and Mercedes Teasley, cofounder and CEO of CEED Inc., through a good friend of mine (thanks Jenny!) CEED stands for Community for Entrepreneurs Engaged in Development. CEED is a cloud-based, collaborative project & supply chain management platform that provides direct & alternative pathways to Cannabis & Hemp business ownership for Black entrepreneurs and professionals.
That is the professional way of saying Mercy and Tre’ are bridge builders, dedicated to making sure people of color are educated, encouraged and supported to own cannabis and hemp businesses. The thing that stood out the most to me in our conversation was their mission to change the mindset of their community from cannabis consumer to cannabis entrepreneur. Tre’ and Mercy spoke about how black and brown skinned people have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs and how much more work it takes for them to enter a wealthy, white dominated industry.
Much of the social equity opportunities are still going to companies primarily owned and operated by white people. People of color are given seats on boards so companies can say they are partially owned by “minorities” to gain access to licenses that costs hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
It’s disgusting to me and it’s why organizations like CEED are necessary. We need a digital platform where governments, organizations, and business owners can find and work with cannabis businesses that are actually owned and/or operated by people of color. I am inspired by what Mercy and Tre’ are creating and I am encouraged that businesses with integrity like CEED, will grow in the cannabis space.
If you are a law maker, venture capitalist, seed investor, cannabis entrepreneur, please listen to what Tre’ and Mercy are saying. We need to work together to create a better business model for cannabis, one with less barriers of success for those that have been the most affected by the war on drugs.
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