“As cannabis continues to be legalized throughout the United States, it’s important as an industry that we support & propel social equity initiatives that aim to undo the damage done to minority communities throughout the War on Drugs,” shared Danielle Blanchette, Director of Event Marketing for Benzinga. The company is the leading media platform in the industry and is committed to social equity. “We seek to understand, support, and enable organizations whose missions are to provide unobstructed access to the cannabis industry for wrongfully-incarcerated individuals and minority populations affected by cannabis prohibition,’ said Blanchette.
One way Benzinga is showing their commitment is through providing a complimentary General Admission pass as a scholarship award for; social equity cannabis license holders or pending applicants from any state to attend the all 2023 Capital Conference being hosted in Chicago this coming September 27th and 28th.
“Complimentary access includes access to all sessions, networking opportunities, access to the exhibit hall and most meals,” shared Blanchette. Recipients also get full access to the Social Equity or Invest in Her lounges, spaces that facilitate more personal conversations with peers and allies. Cannabis conferences and events can be expensive and far away. High conference costs can be prohibitive and leave brilliant business minds out of the mix. Through partnerships with other organizations like BIPOCann scholarship recipients are further connected to diverse industry professionals and supported to take full advantage of the conference experience In April, Benzinga hosted their spring Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami, FL.
Through partnerships with Women Grow and BIPOCann, over 100 women, minority, and social equity entrepreneurs were granted scholarships (valued at $999) to attend the multi-day event. Women Grow and BIPOCann curated and moderated four panel conversations through the scholarship program, giving platforms to entrepreneurs from their communities to share their insights on stage. Panels encouraged attendees to "Invest in Her" and to "Invest in Emerging BIPOC Cannabis Brands." Benzinga also provided dedicated lounges to the partner organizations to encourage networking and relationship-building with the scholarship attendees. Benzinga’s social equity scholarships and resources are generously supported by sponsors UCS Advisors, Trulieve, Grasshopper Farms and Green Check Verified Inc.
The value of a conference experience is indeed in the content and connection, “the most common feedback we've heard from scholarship attendees and attendees in general is how powerful the networking experience has been. Businesses have found new partners, licensing opportunities, ideal service providers, and even access to capital to fund their next steps. The networking opportunities are unparalleled here at Benzinga,” Danielle said proudly.
“We host a number of networking events across the conference. One of the key features of our event is a robust networking app. It’s available to all attendees and connects you in specified meeting spaces at the event. There are even AI-generated recommendations for those meetings based on specific discussion topics that each attendee chooses when they set up their profile,” she shared. Applications close for scholarships that provide a fully complimentary pass on September 9th. Applicants can still apply after that date, but there will be a fee of $197 ($1,000 less than our full rate passes) for anyone who is approved between Sept. 10 - Sept 27.
Previous awardees of complimentary passes are ineligible for a second full scholarship. However they can attend Benzinga events at a deep discounted rate. “If applicants applied previously were approved and attended a Benzinga event, they aren’t eligible for another full scholarship. However Benzinga offers large discounts to scholar alumni who wish to return to future Benzinga events after verification,” shared Danielle. This years’ event features an awards celebration and networking reception on the night of Sept 27, and the official Greenhouse Afterparty hosted at Tunnel starting at 8PM on Sept 28th. There is a small fee for the Afterparty, more details can be found on the conference website at www.benzinga.com/events/cannabis-conference/social-equity-initiatives/.