Jessica Naissant

NY Cannabis Adult-use Retail Dispensary Applicant
"Without Our Academy I would not have had half of the experience or knowledge in the cannabis industry had it not been for Hilary, Jess, and the Our Academy team. They spent weeks on weeks preparing us to present and pitch at MJ Unpacked, which was an amazing experience for me to launch my brand, but also to see which facet of the industry would work for me. They also connected me with amazing attorneys and business owners that gave me first-hand experience on how to run a cannabis business. Had it not been for Our Academy, I probably would not have applied for the conditional retail round in New York. I was definitely overwhelmed and in over my head, but they took time week after week to help me game plan and now my application has been submitted and I'm pretty sure I'll be licensed in the next few months. I am so grateful for their help they've given me and so many others. I connected with so many people in our cohort and now we're not just a group of individuals working to get in the cannabis industry, but we're a family."

Nate Bowles

Founder of Good Smoke and Long Beach, CA Social Equity Applicant
"I am part of the 2020 mentee cohort of Our Academy. Our Academy put on an amazing 15-week program that educated Black-owned and equity-owned cannabis businesses about the ins and out of running your own cannabis company. It's been instrumental in helping me realize what I needed to do to be successful in this space and they connected me with vendors and retailers in the space. Today I run my own premium lifestyle cannabis brand called the Good Smoke Company and I'm also a social equity applicant out of the city of Long Beach. I couldn't be anymore pleased with the program and all of the opportunities and connections Our Academy has presented me with. If you're considering on joining, I highly advise that you look into it and check in with Hilary and the other companies that have come out of the program, it'll be well worth your time while creating more diversity in the industry which is absolutely essential. So thank you Our Academy and I'm so excited to see the success that keeps coming from this in the future."

BJ Carson

Founder of 448
"Being apart of the Our Academy cohort was an amazing opportunity working alongside individuals in similar positions was extremely encouraging. It really debunked the myth that you have to have it all figured out before you start. The tools and resources associated were beyond helpful. The guidance of a mentor was paramount, seeing and hearing a perspective of someone who had done what I’m trying to do was extremely encouraging. A real life example. Lastly, the association to Our Academy gave me a boost to my resume and helped give me an extra nod from potential employers. Shoutout to Hilary and her Team at Our Academy."

Morris Kelly

Founder of SF Roots — San Francisco, CA
"Our Academy gave me the ability to work with Ted Lichtenberger from the Flower Company and make a genuine connection with someone from a different walk of life who also taught me a different way of culturally doing business. It showed me that there are people on the other side of the train tracks to bond with and learn from. The program also provided me with a built-in network to flourish nationwide. Since OA, I have worked with another mentee and social equity applicant, Tre Hobbs, and taught him what I learned in California to apply it to his launch in his home state, Michigan. OA also helped us all work together and learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses as a unit, helping us support each other’s ventures in CA and MI. Going into the next stage of my career, Tess Taylor, who’s also an OA alum, has helped me showcase my strengths in other states for consulting contracts. There’s been a positive sorority/fraternity effect where alumni vouch for one another in the real world to create more representation in the cannabis industry."

Matha Figaro

Founder of ButACake and New Jersey Conditional Manufacturing Licensee
"Our Academy provided a wealth of knowledge and resources to help take my business, ButACake, to the next level. The Academy is ran by a team of experienced business professionals who are extremely knowledgeable and supportive throughout the entire process. One of the most valuable aspects of the program was the networking opportunities it provided. I had the chance to connect with other business owners and entrepreneurs from all over the country. These connections have proved to be invaluable and have opened up new doors for my businesses. In addition to the support and guidance from the program mentors, I also received access to a range of tools and resources, including training materials, templates, and videos. These resources have been extremely helpful in driving the growth and success of my business. Overall, I would highly recommend Our Academy to anyone looking to take their cannabis business to the next level. It's an incredible opportunity to gain valuable insights and connect with like-minded individuals in a supportive environment. Thank you to the program organizers for such an amazing experience!"

Eliza and Timo Espinoza

Founder of 7th Wave LLC — Humboldt County, CA
“Our Academy was an essential component to getting licensed, executing brands and building a network of trustworthy professionals in the cannabis industry of California. Not only did we learn so much from the workshops, but the opportunities they provided us to advance our business has positioned us to where we are today: a 100% family-owned, social equity verified, woman-led and Latino/a micro-licensed cannabis company."

Tiana Woodruff

“Our Academy is one of the best accelerator programs in the Cannabis industry. Their bi-weekly 15-week mentorship workshops taught me how to start-up and run a successful cannabis business. As a social equity recipient there is little guidance and resources out there that can help you start or build a successful business. Most investors are predatory and make you give them control over the day-to-day operations for a pay check. Without the OA program Queen Mary would not be a brand on shelves today. They helped me turn an idea into an actual business. Not only did they help me learn every aspect of what I needed to do from the importance of good partnerships to having an actual business plan and pro forma. I learned the importance of filing a trademark and how to structure my business in terms of different entities. We have workshops with lawyers, consultants and people who work in every aspect of the cannabis industry, we even had a workshop on learning the basics of Metric. As an organization they are changing the policies of Social Equity programs to ensure a clear and accessible path for BIPOC owners in the industry. "

Anthony Jenkins

Founder of Next Level Edibles & Oakland, CA S-type Manufacturing Licensee
"Our Academy is truly a business accelerator. The classes are top tier and on relevant topics taught by industry specialists. The hand paired mentors provide regular guidance on how to progress forward through the littered minefield of the early industry. Students are supported throughout this process by classmates and a strong alumni network that extends well beyond graduation. The program is fuelled by a passionate and energetic founder whose students' success clearly serves as her guiding star. I highly recommend it to minority entrepreneurs that are serious about having a successful cannabis company."

Andrea Toney

“Our Academy helped me in so many different ways. I started at ground zero along with a lot of the other mentees and we had ideas and brands that needed extra development. Over the course of 15 weeks, I was able to meet with attorneys in the industry to lock in my trademark and other entrepreneurs to get their insight on what it took for them to get their foot in the door. There’s nothing like this that I’ve seen - to be able to network and successfully give us the insight to run an operational company”

Tess Taylor

Founder of Dose of Saucy — Dallas, TX
"I am not sure if it is possible to adequately articulate what Our Dream and Our Academy truly means to the mentees who complete the program. Hilary, Devan, and their team’s commitment to the people they lead and support goes beyond what is outlined on a website or in a deck, and they truly are dream weavers. The educational tools that they provide are the most comprehensive out there and come with an ecosystem of trusted operators who genuinely want to help BIPOC founded businesses succeed. They found a virtual silver lining during the pandemic that connected aspiring and legacy business owners all over the country who were all empowered to dream, positively affect change, and achieve in their home states. Myself and my brand, Dose of Saucy, are forever indebted to OA and hope to pay it back by paying it forward whenever I can."

Tre Hobbs

“Before Our Academy I was lost on where to start. I was Googling to find stuff and wasn’t sure if the program was actually going to do anything for me cause I’ve been part of other things that were BS. But the first meeting shared so much info that I kept coming back. I learned a lot about myself and what I want and also about the business world. I got knowledge on branding, compliance, and how to build a company with integrity. It’s easy to get lost without the guidance and it’s created railing bumpers, so when I was getting stuck or felt like I was hitting the gutter like when you go bowling, they’d help me bounce back. I had never seen a legal business and how it operated face-to-face. Our Academy did a great job to keep me focused and provided resources on what it looks like inside a business. I’m from Detroit and I’m blessed to now live part of the time in a safer area and got to travel a lot from when I played football, but every time I come back, even though I didn’t think it could get worse, it does. It’s like a zombie town and it reminds me why programs like this are important to let us know we can find ways to give back to our community and still have the motivation to do something about our situations.”

Ayodele Vassall

“Our Academy is a divine blessing on my professional cannabis journey. This program provides a safe space for mentees to ask priceless questions about equity agreements, legal compliance, marketing, cultivation, distribution, and cannabis tax liability issues. Mentees have unprecedented access to training materials and cannabis tastemakers. Weekly calls with my mentor Kimberly (Get Frigg) incentivize accountability. Our Academy is the sea change cannabis needs. I foresee Our Academy mentoring multiple successful cannabis brands.”