The Hood Incubator is a community-centered nonprofit organization committed to building economic and political power for Black and Brown communities.
The Hood Incubator works to increase the participation of Black and Brown communities in the legal cannabis industry. Through our three core areas of work – community organizing, policy advocacy, and economic development – we are creating a healthy and sustainable ecosystem of industry access, resources, and support that benefits, rather than harms, Black and Brown communities.
In 2017, The Hood Incubator launched in Oakland in response to marijuana legalization in California and across the country. Rooted in a commitment to racial and economic justice, our founders Biseat, Ebele and Lanese sought to center Black communities adversely impacted by the war on drugs.
While marijuana use is roughly equal among Blacks and whites nationwide, Black people are nearly four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. Now that cannabis is a thriving $8 billion legal industry, Black people make up less than 5% of founders and business owners.
This undermines the fact that we have spent generations in the informal marijuana business – often because it was one of the only sources of income we had available when formal economy jobs left our communities.
The moment is ripe for us to take collective action to maintain and grow the economic foundations we have been developing through cannabis. In this historical moment, there is also an opportunity for us to build political power through this process.
In the past year alone, The Hood Incubator has built a membership of over 2,000 people nationwide. We’ve supported 10 Black and Brown entrepreneurs through our Cannabis Business Accelerator program- the first people of color focused cannabis accelerator in the nation. We’ve launched a cannabis industry apprenticeship program to build the pipeline of living wage, locally-based jobs available to our communities. We continue to work closely with the Oakland City Council and community members to develop and implement the nation’s first Cannabis Equity Program.
In June 2017, we became the first cannabis-focused organization to earn a highly-competitive global fellowship from Echoing Green to support the organization as we emerge as a leader in the fields of social entrepreneurship and social innovation. Locally, we received the 2017 Townie Local Business of the Year Award from progressive organization Oakland Rising for our dedication to fostering cannabis industry leadership within Black and Brown communities. Most recently, we were honored as one of the SF Chronicle's 2018 GreenState Cannabis Excellence Awardees.
Our co-founders have been featured on the 2017 Full Color 50 List, the 2017 Most Daring Entrepreneurs List, and the 2018 Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List. Our organization has been featured on VICELAND, Rolling Stone, Associated Press, Entrepreneur, and on the cover of cannabis industry publication Dope Magazine.
We are Oakland-founded and nationally-focused. As we prove our model, we plan to replicate our work in different cities and states around the country.
Co-founders Biseat, Ebele, and Lanese. Photo Credit: Eric Risberg, AP