DBusiness Daily Update: Cannabis Delivery Company to Partner with Calvin Johnson in Michigan, PPP Loan Application Support Available for Minority-owned Small Businesses, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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graph of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Cannabis Delivery Company to Partner with Former Lion Calvin Johnson in Michigan
San Francisco-based cannabis marketplace and delivery company Eaze today announced that it will launch operations in Michigan this spring in partnership with former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

What it launches in Ann Arbor and Detroit in April, Eaze will feature flower by Primitiv, a cannabis company co-founded by Johnson and fellow Detroit Lions alumnus Rob Sims. Deliveries in Grand Rapids will begin in May.

“Primitiv’s mission is to promote cannabis’ incredible health benefits, especially as a pain relief alternative to deadly opioids,” says Johnson. “We want to reach as many customers as possible with the highest-quality products and partnering with Eaze will help us achieve that.”

Founded in 2014, Eaze has completed more than 7 million legal deliveries in California. Starting today, Michiganders age 21 and older can visit Eaze.com to sign up for the service. A valid U.S. ID or Passport showing customers are over the age of 21 is required. Eaze will exclusively carry recreational products, and Michigan residents who register on Eaze.com will get $30 off each of their first two orders.

“We’re honored to partner with Calvin Johnson, Rob Sims, and other highly respected Michigan cannabis entrepreneurs to expand consumer access statewide,” says Rogelio Choy, CEO of Eaze. “Our goal is to bring lower prices and greater convenience to Michiganders who want fast, legal delivery while also creating good-paying jobs and supporting social equity.”

Eaze is an industry leader in social justice programs to address the War on Drugs. These initiatives include Eaze’s Momentum business accelerator for underrepresented founders and its Social Equity Menu, which to-date has sold nearly $4 million in brands owned by social equity licensees. Tre Hobbs, founder of Detroit’s Neighborhood Essentials cannabis brand, is a member of Momentum’s class of 2021.

Eaze’s operational partner in Ann Arbor is licensee KTC Industries, and its affiliated business, D&K Ventures, owners of the Detroit Edible Co. and Cannalicious Labs brands. Eaze will announce additional operational partnerships in the coming weeks.

“We are honored to partner with Eaze as both a depot and a platform so that our great products from Detroit Edible Co. and Cannalicious Labs can be delivered right to the doorsteps of current and new adult customers across the state,” says Tim Schuler. President and COO of KTC Industries. “Eaze’s mission to be socially conscious, along with their innovative technology, was our driving motivation to partner with them as they launch in Michigan.”

PPP Loan Application Support Available for Minority-owned Small Businesses
State officials and leaders from the Michigan Bankers Association, Community Bankers of Michigan, the Michigan Credit Union League, and the National Business League are urging Michigan’s minority-owned and other underserved businesses to apply for forgivable loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program before the current March 31 deadline.

Participating banks, credit unions, and Community Development Financial Institutions are available to support new and existing small business customers as they navigate through the PPP process.

While loans can be obtained through any participating banks and credit unions, small business owners may wish to pursue a PPP loan through a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) which provides access to financial products and services for residents and businesses in low-income communities to expand economic opportunity.

CDFIs offer specialized customer service to underserved communities, including those customers with limited or no credit history or those that require additional support. To find a participating lender, small businesses should visit the SBA’s Lender Match or search for a participating lender in their area. Consumers are encouraged to call or check the website of the lender before visiting to learn about additional steps being taken to protect consumer and employee safety during the pandemic, including offering services by appointment or online.

“Michigan’s state-chartered banks and credit unions continue to step up to support the communities they serve through programs like the PPP, and we are pleased to work with them to clear barriers and raise awareness to better support Michigan’s minority-owned businesses,” says Anita Fox, director of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. “If your business does not have a banking relationship with a participating financial institution, shop around for a participating state-chartered bank or credit union to support your business through the PPP process.”

DIFS can assist consumers and businesses with questions or disputes that cannot be directly resolved with their financial institutions. Contact DIFS Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 877-999-6442 or file a complaint here.

Craft Breweries, Wineries Tap into Full-bodied Health Benefits
Some 500 family-owned craft breweries and wineries Michigan can now shop for better value on health insurance for their employees through a new Association Health Plan offered by the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association.

Titled the Michigan Beverage Collective, it pools Michigan’s large and growing community of craft beverage makers, distributors and wholesalers into one buying group. The collective gets rates similar to large corporations on coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield for health, dental, vision, and short-term disability.

“The Michigan Beverage Collective helps family business owners attract the best talent with employee benefit programs that cost less and are easy to administer,” says Spencer Nevins, president of the MB&WWA.

The Michigan Beverage Collective was made possible by a series of bills passed by the state in 2019. The MB&WWA previously could only offer such benefits to its 47 members (4,000 insured) under its former construct, the Employee Benefit Trust.

Guardhat Awarded Certifications for Smart Hardhat in Hazardous Locations
Guardhat, a Detroit-based safety solutions provider, has received IECEx and ATEX Zone 1 certifications for its IS-HC1.1 communicator hardhat.

These certifications allow industrial operators across Europe, Australia, and parts of the Middle East to deploy Guardhat smart hardhats as part of the company’s connected safety and productivity solutions. The Guardhat IS-HC1.1 Communicator hardhat, as well as the company’s ultra-wideband gateways for precise location tracking, are currently under review for similar certifications across North and South America with confirmation expected later this spring.

“These certifications validate years of design and engineering effort to create the most ruggedized and technologically advanced system for worker safety in existence,” says Saikat Dey, founder and CEO of Guardhat. “To design an electronic, battery-powered, audio/visual, multi-network, and cellular connectivity-capable device to be incapable of generating heat or spark was extremely challenging. Not to mention that it has to sit comfortably atop a worker’s head, protecting them in all the ways a traditional hard hat would. I’m extremely proud of our team, and hopeful about the impact this offering can have. Every worker should be able to go home at the end of a shift.”

Guardhat partnered with i.safe MOBILE GmbH, a global leader in mobile communication devices for hazardous locations, in the certification process. The intrinsically safe hardhat retains all the features and capabilities of the original HC1 Communicator, including sensor-based, contextual awareness; multi-modal, high-precision real-time positioning (RTLS) and proximity detection; comprehensive audio-visual telecommunications; peripheral connectivity; and multiple wireless backhaul options; with an ergonomic and user-friendly interface; and safety certifications including ANSI/ISEA Z89.1. The IS HC1.1 Communicator hardhat is available now.

For more information, visit here.

Annual Women’s Event Supports Pancreatic Cancer Research
Sky Foundation, based in Bloomfield Hills, will present its 13th Annual Women’s Event, virtually on Thursday, April 29 at 6 p.m.

This year’s event will include cutting-edge research updates, a silent auction and ticket raffle, with all proceeds supporting the nonprofit’s mission to fund education and research for pancreatic cancer.

In 2021, more than 60,000 people in this country will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer — the third-deadliest cancer.

“The American Cancer Society recently reported that from 2014 to 2021, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients increased from 6 percent to just 10 percent,” says Sheila Sky Kasselman, founder of Sky Foundation, and a 13-year pancreatic cancer survivor.

The Women’s Event educates the community on this hard-to-diagnose and harder-to-treat cancer. The one-hour livestream will include updates from two Sky-funded researchers, a leading local gastroenterologist and a panel of pancreatic cancer survivors.

Ticket levels for the Women’s Event range from $35 to $1000. Sponsor opportunities also are available.

To register or for more information, visit here.

ACC to Host Free COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics March 23 and April 6
ACC, a nonprofit human service organization serving southeast Michigan, is hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Detroit on March 23, 30 and April 6.

The clinics will take place at the ACC Youth Recreation and Leadership Center at 62 W. Seven Mile Rd., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Conducted in partnership with the city of Detroit, the clinics will offer 300 Moderna vaccines each day, while supplies last.

“ACC is pleased to work with the city of Detroit to host these much-needed vaccine clinics and serve our vulnerable Detroit residents and essential workers,” says Haifa Fakhouri, president and CEO of ACC. “As we band together in the fight against COVID-19, ACC remains committed to the health and well-being of the community. We hope eligible Detroiters will take this opportunity to get a free COVID-19 vaccine.”

The vaccination clinics are open to Detroit residents and Detroit essential workers only. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Aged 50 or older
  • Agriculture or food processing workers
  • Caregivers of children with special health care needs
  • Childcare staff
  • Corrections staff
  • Health care workers
  • Long-term care residents and staff
  • Prioritized frontline responders
  • School teachers and staff

Registration is required in advance, and ID must be presented upon arrival. To schedule an appointment, call 248-550-1554.

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