On March 08, 2019 Biome Grow (BIO.C) announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to develop “job training, skills and employment opportunities for urban indigenous people in the region”.
Biome Grow is unapologetically focused on Atlantic Canada.
- Back Home is a late-stage applicant which will service both Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Highland Grow: A licensed producer in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Highland Grow was Biome’s first licensed producer under Canada’s ACMPR guidelines.
Biome sent the Friendship Centre a request to fill five new positions in Highland Grow’s rapidly growing facility. These first five jobs will be in “supply chain logistics, packaging, quality control, and cultivation.”
150 years ago, the Mi’kmaw resided on a bay at the north end of Halifax. Living in wigwams and framed houses, they made a living fishing and selling baskets, beadwork and axe handles to the Europeans.
The 1871 photograph below shows a Mi’kmaw Father (defiant) & Son (wary) posing in front of the future downtown Halifax.
In the bay behind them, On December 6, 1917, an ocean vessel called The Mont Blanc – packed with explosives destined for the front lines of WWI – collided with the SS Imo, a Norwegian ship.
The resultant explosion killed 2,000 people – wiping out the Mi’kmaw community of fisher-people and traders.
In the following decades, the Mi’kmaw children were removed from their homes, forbidden to speak their native language and sexually assaulted by priests. Not the kind of ethnic trauma that is resolved in one or two generations.
“This partnership offers Biome a unique opportunity to demonstrate its social responsibility,” confirmed Khurram Malik, CEO, Biome Grow. “These are stable, long term careers for local people to work in one of the fastest growing and most innovative industries in the world.”
You can learn about Biome’s sustainable revenue streams and strategic offtake agreements in this podcast.
The 3-year partnership will see the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre and Biome Grow collaborate on Indigenous focused training programs and employment support projects in the cannabis sector.
Job skills in the sector include medical handling and packaging proficiencies, product compliance and cultivation, quality control and analysis, shipping, classification and inventory control systems.”
- Nova Scotians consume 51% more cannabis per capita than the national average.
- 23% of Nova Scotians consumed pot in Q3, 2018.
- 19.4% of Atlantic Canadians consumed pot in Q3, 2018
- This is 4% higher than the national average of 15.2%.
“We spotted the lack of competition and high per capita consumption in Atlantic Canada early on and set out to acquire subsidiaries and establish partnerships across the region,” stated Biome CEO, Khurram Malik.
It is easy to be cynical about the March 8th announcement.
Every publicly traded company on the planet is building schools or libraries or donating to local charitable causes.
Good community relations is good business.
We decided to call the Friendship Center to get its point of view.
“We have multiple challenges in this urban indigenous community,” stated Pam Glode-Desrochers, Executive Director of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre. “Including internet access and housing”.
“Five jobs aren’t a lot of jobs,” confirmed Glode-Desrochers, “but with Biome, we are at the ground level. It’s a grass roots approach. That is a big difference for us. Often things are done without the indigenous community, and then it’s suddenly thrown on us. That doesn’t work.
Also, when job opportunities do come, it’s often ‘away’ jobs, not ‘home’ jobs.
Nobody really wants to leave their communities.
So this is a chance to be self-determined and have a career that will help feed and grow their families without having to leave home.”
The collaboration with the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre will not add meat to Biome’s Q2, 2019 financials.
If you are a “I-only-look-at-the-numbers” investor, the news is immaterial.
But pure chartists/analytical investors are on the wane.
According to Forbes Magazine, “US assets under management using Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) strategies grew from $8.7 trillion at the start of 2016 to $12 trillion in 2018, an increase of 38%. That’s also 26%, or 1 in 4 dollars, of the $46.6 trillion in total assets under management.”
All investors want to make money.
A growing subset also want to own companies that are doing good things.
“There’s ample opportunity for our community to grow, side by side, with the cannabis industry,” stated Glode-Desrochers, “For us, that’s the buy-in.”
Full Disclosure: Biome is an Equity Guru marketing client and we own the stock.