University Holding ‘Shark Tank’ Competition For Cannabis Businesses

Budding cannabis entrepreneurs will have a chance to win big money from investors.


Aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs now have the chance to share their ideas and win some cash. Thomas Jefferson University, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has put out the call for innovative cannabis business ideas. More specifically, the school is hosting a weed business competition similar to the TV show “Shark Tank.”

Thomas Jefferson University Presents “CannaVATION”

Thomas Jefferson University’s innovation incubator, Jefferson Accelerator Zone or JAZ for short, is the host and organizer of the CannaVATION. As such, the competition is looking specifically for innovative ideas to improve and change the medical marijuana space.

Here’s how CannaVATION will work. Anybody with an idea for a new marijuana business starts by filling out the online application. Applicants do not have to be affiliated with the school to participate.

From there, a panel of industry experts will go through all applications. As judges, they will be looking for ideas that are in their early stages and that they think show promise in the medical marijuana industry.

More specifically, they will look for innovative ideas. This could include ideas for businesses that work directly with medical cannabis or cannabis products.

But it could also include ideas for other ancillary businesses. That means that people with great ideas for cultivation, or lighting systems, or product tracking technology, or anything else is eligible to apply—as long as it in some way relates to medical marijuana.

With that said, there are a couple rules for applying. Most obviously, only ideas that will directly impact some aspect of the medical marijuana industry will be accepted.

Beyond that, the contest will only accept ideas that haven’t raised $100,000 in capital yet. Similarly, all applicants must have a business plan in place. And finally, people who want to compete must also include a five year financial projection.

There Will Be Three Winners

After the first panel of judges reviews all the applications, they will choose finalists. These folks will advance to the next stage. And this is where the contest becomes the “Shark Tank” of the marijuana world.

Everybody chosen for the final round will get to pitch their idea in front of an audience. These pitches will follow the same general format as the ones on “Shark Tank.”

Along with the audience, there will also be another panel of judges. This time, the judges will be experts from the university. After all finalists pitch their medical marijuana business ideas, the judges will choose three winners.

The first place winner will receive $10,000. Additionally, they will win one free provisional or utility patent application, along with free legal consulting help.

The two other winners will receive a $5,000 prize. That will be complemented by legal assistance similar to what the grand prize winner will receive.

Thomas Jefferson isn’t the first school to engage the legal marijuana industry. In fact, universities around the world are becoming increasingly open to cannabis.

For example, Canada’s University of Guelph recently announced plans to launch a new cannabis research program. The school plans to build a new greenhouse for researching the best ways to grow cannabis.

Beyond that, there are a growing number of universities beginning to offer similar courses. Some of them are business training programs. Others are focused on studying cannabinoids and their effects on humans and other animals. And others focus on the science of growing and breeding cannabis.

" Nick Lindsey : Nick is a Green Rush Daily writer reporting on all things cannabis. He currently lives in New York City.."