Social equity does not work? But why?
For some strange reason, we have begun to interchange the words equity and equality. And, yes, they do share similar meanings to a large extent, but the biggest difference is that equity requires ownership.
At its core, social equity can change the landscape of any industry, especially cannabis. It provides provisions for individuals most inequitably impacted by the war on drugs.
One of the biggest hurdles in social equity is access to capital. Even if everyone was granted a legal cannabis license, it aids nothing to ownership (equity) if pathways are not created to obtain funds to establish and acquire a business. For social equity to work, we must employ both policy and financial interventions, leveraging the unique needs of cultural relationships with money.
Our society has become increasingly diverse and globalized. Factors such as ethnicity and heritage play a significant role in affecting visible disadvantages for minority groups. Minorities’ ability to access capital historically faces a larger barrier than their Caucasian counterparts.
I think it’s time to introduce social economics to the conversation. Social economics accounts for non-traditional factors that impact a group’s economic decisions that include culture, race, gender, religion, and education. It uses information from different areas to examine how these non-traditional factors influence consumer behavior, shape buying trends, and affect other activities within business and economics.
At some point, we all have to realize that every culture, race, and gender has a different relationship with money; this is the central idea behind social economics.
What if there is a better way to establish diversity in the industry and increase minority market share while establishing win-win solutions for all of the stakeholders?
Here are some win-win solutions to aid in the initiatives to provide ownerships opportunities:
- Get the best talent in the game. We know that systemic racism is alive and well. In most cases, provisions are rarely given to middle-class minorities and women even if they may be the best talent. Cannabis is an industry with many rules and regulations. Offering provisions to professionals who can create jobs and obtain businesses for three to five years is a win.
- Create opportunities where minority groups can pool their assets and expertise to establish a corporation while gaining knowledge of the industry.
- Encourage joint venture programs where larger entities such as multi-state operators partner with minority businesses.
- Place supplier diversity programs as a core business practice. Grown from a deep desire for inclusivity and doing what is right, many companies have found the benefit of diverse partnerships. There is profit in diversity. The feel-good factor associated with social equity can be great for branding while also addressing the need for accountability.
It is important that companies bring their relationships with minority companies to the main stage. Inclusive affiliations and fostering entrepreneurship in highly impacted minority groups widen your pool of potential suppliers, collaborations, alliances, and associations, along with offering fair competition in competitive markets to keep costs down.