Earlier this month, Mélanie Joly, the federal Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, as well as the minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WEDC), announced funding for 11 projects across Saskatchewan, including two involving cannabis. As a part of the Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program, $11 million was on the table, put up by Genome Canada, a federal non-profit, and Blue Sky Hemp and Retail Innovation Labs (operating as COVA Software) are two of the businesses chosen.
“Small- and medium-sized enterprises contribute to the growth of Western Canada’s economy,” says a press release from WEDC. “The Government of Canada is supporting high-growth businesses as they increase productivity, find new markets, and create opportunities for Saskatchewan.”
Investing in Hemp
Blue Sky Hemp operates two production facilities in Saskatchewan where it follows a ‘whole plant’ and zero-waste philosophy, using every part of the hemp plant so that nothing is left over to throw away. From the BSP program, the company received just under $750,000 to upgrade its facility to grow its hemp oil pressing and CBD oil refining.
The non-THC and smokeless categories continue to grow in the market, and the federal government has been taking notice. As more Canadians turn to cannabis and hemp for wellness, demand will grow, and hopefully Blue Sky Hemp can get ahead of the game thanks to this stimulus.
Investing in Retail Innovation
Retail Innovation Labs is the Regina-based parent company for Cova Software, the company that created the cannabis retail point-of-sale (POS) system used in over 1,000 stores across Canada and the US. As one of the fastest-growing cannabis POS systems in North America, the $531,125 it received will go towards expanding and developing new products.
With store numbers quickly rising, Cova is helping to develop a common system, which will be used across the industry to make data entry from producers much easier. (See our Utilizing Data to Optimize Retail Operations feature in the upcoming issue of Cannabis Retailer magazine, in your mailbox on July 5.)
As the industry grows, it’s comforting to see provincial and federal governments taking notice.
“Our message to business owners and workers is clear,” says Minister Joly. “We will be there to support you for as long as it takes, with whatever it takes, and we will get through this together.”