Advocate and Businessman Leo Bridgewater won a cannabiz grant and a place in Eaze’s Momentum accelerator program to help minority entrepreneurs.
Eaze, California’s largest marketplace for legal cannabis, announced the winners of its second-annual Momentum program, which cultivates the growth and success of underrepresented cannabis business founders.
Bridgewater is a Trenton, NJ, native, veteran, and entrepreneur. In 2001, Leo joined the Army in response to 9/11. Leo left the Army in 2006. He then spent two and a half years working for the Dept. of the Army within the Department of Defense at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
Noted NJ Cannabis Advocate and Entrepreneur Helped
As an advocate, Leo testified to an NJ Senate Committee to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) added to the NJ Medical Marijuana Program.
In September 2016, then-Governor Chris Christie signed bill S-2345 adding PTSD to the NJMMP, making PTSD the first mental health qualifying condition to the NJ MMP.
Leo currently serves as National Director of Veterans Outreach with Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana (M4MM). Advisory Board Member for Cannabis World Conference Business Expo (CWCBE), and medical advisory board Chairman for MPX NJ.
In 2016, Leo Bridgewater founded BridgeH2o LLC, signaling his evolution from Advocate to Consultant/Entrepreneur in the Cannabis Industry. His strain (or cultivar) sold at Harmony is called BridgeH2o. It was cultivated to ease his sleeping and PTSD issues.
Eaze Cannabis Company Grant Program
Of 250 applicants for the cannabis company grant, ten businesses have been selected for the 2021 cohort, including Bridgewater.
Winning companies receive a $50,000 cannabis company grant, a 12-week business development program led by industry experts, and access to Eaze’s business, marketing, legal, and PR resources. After the 12-week program, participants will pitch their businesses to industry-defining investors for the opportunity to raise additional funds.
Eaze is honored to support underrepresented entrepreneurs as they forge their respective paths. Many consumers are eager to purchase products made by socially conscious Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC)-owned companies. However, there are so many barriers to entry into the legal market.
Momentum is helping level the playing field because Eaze wants to see these companies become sustainable and profitable.
Eaze’s State of Cannabiz report found that in 2020, 9.5% of all customers bought Social Equity brands, accounting for over $2.6 million in sales.
The Momentum cannabiz program, in its second year, received more than 250 applications from founders across 23 states and US territories. Momentum’s Advisory Committee selected finalists based on potential for success, lived experience, and current barriers to market entry.
James Charon: Syracuse Hemporium (Syracuse, NY)
Jesse Grundy: The Peakz Co (Oakland, CA)
Tre Hobbs: Neighborhood Essentials (Detroit, MI)
Kika Keith-Sturgis: Gorilla Rx (Los Angeles, CA)
Dorian Morris: Undefined Beauty (Los Angeles, CA)
Nina Parks: Gift of Doja (San Francisco, CA)
Andre Scott and Mark Mabutas: La Flor (Sacramento, CA)