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Helios Labs, Illinois' First Social Equity Marijuana License Owner Awarded $1M Loan

Helios Labs, a minority-owned craft cannabis grower in Broadview, Illinois, announced it secured the first loan from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Cannabis Social Equity Loan Program designated for social equity license holders.

“As a leading social equity cannabis organization, we are happy to be among the first to access these funds,” said Ambrose Jackson, CEO of Helios Labs. “With enormous start-up costs, it is vital for all license holders to complete build-outs and begin operations as quickly as possible and move into a revenue-generating model,” said Jackson, who added the loan provides needed cash infusion at a pivotal time in the project’s development.

According to a press release, Helios Labs received their loan from Good Tree Capital, a Chicago-based financial institution that provides loans and now a digital wallet for cannabis companies to store and use their funds.

“We are proud to be working with Helios to both provide them with a loan, but also a digital wallet where they can store their funds and put them to work to grow their business,” said Seke Ballard, Good Tree Capital’s founder.

Social Equity Means Access To Capital As Well

The Cannabis Social Equity Loan Program was created to help social equity license holders access capital, which has historically been one of the main barriers to entry.

The program launched in the summer of 2021 with the goal of providing low-interest loans to social equity licensees through a partnership with lending institutions.

The DCEO loans required applicants to meet certain conditions, including:

  • The applicant must originate from an under-resourced area, or one disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
  • The applicant or a family member must have been directly impacted by police enforcing anti-marijuana laws.
  • The applicant hires 51% of employees from distressed neighborhoods negatively affected by the war on drugs.

“Equity has always been at the core of our cannabis legalization process,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. “But if we want to create a truly equitable cannabis industry in Illinois, we must give our business owners the resources they need to grow.”

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Photo By Dylan LaPierre On Unsplash

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