Yes, there has been a lot of “buzz” around Cannabis and Hemp – around the legal production and retailing of Cannabis, and as well, the frenzied ride of the Cannabis stock market and the search by existing and new consumers for the “right stuff”.
The timing was right for Travis Dahl and his team to create an accelerator for entrepreneurs – to learn and develop skills on how to navigate the business, legal, regulatory and technical aspects in the Cannabis & Hemp industry sectors.
So where did this idea start? It began when a federal government agency relocated out of his family’s office building in Vegreville, Alberta into new facilities in the City of Edmonton. Travis’s family then decided to repurpose the building – around the time the federal government was in the process of legalizing cannabis in Canada.
So what does it take to set up a private sector accelerator for Cannabis & Hemp?
Meet Travis the Co-founder and COO of CHIC (Cannabis & Hemp Innovation Centre)! In this Episode, Travis shares his journey from his experience as a construction project manager and his transferable skills into the creation of CHIC for new and serial entrepreneurs.
So how challenging was it to create CHIC? Travis and his family (BMS Holdings) found navigating the rapidly evolving industry challenging – a steep learning curve with an unmet need for a system of cohesion and collaboration.
What they saw upon further research was a fractured yet nascent developing industry in legalized Cannabis with an unmet need for a “Cannabis Centre of Excellence”. Following the development of relationships and partnerships with world-class experts, the concept for a comprehensive “Innovation Centre” called CHIC evolved – campus facilities complete with a business accelerator, a college campus, a research and development centre and a co-working space.
Travis shares his personal insights on values that help him to navigate future opportunities:
On Future Careers: “I have a strong belief that it’s important to know where a person is trying to get to BEFORE deciding which vehicle to take.”
On Mentorship: “My grandfather was my first mentor who had a good amount of success in the construction industry so I asked him as a mentor, “where should I go next?” He recommended the Construction Management program at BCIT (I’m from Vancouver) which after completion moved me higher up in the construction world – but I was still just trading my time for money.”
On Entrepreneurship: “Seek to add value to society (without expectations of immediate return) instead of just trading time (in expectation of immediate return). Most of my family members are entrepreneurs, and as a result, I’ve learned to value certain aspects differently on future employment. Rather than working towards a company pension (if it exists in the future), for me it’s about working for a purpose that may improve a world where I can have a positive impact.”
About Travis Dahl
Travis is the Co-Founder and COO of CHIC. Before graduating from the BCIT Construction Management Program, he started out as a carpenter. Travis moved into Project Management later in his career path. He recently joined his family business in BMS Holdings to convert an existing facility into CHIC, and enabled the build out of the team, advisors and instructors for the curriculum at the CHIC accelerator for Entrepreneurs.
Alberta specifically has an incredible resource base of highly skilled and resourceful people that have a lot to offer in the future of human innovation. CHIC’s aim is to help to provide a support structure for entrepreneurs in this industry sector to thrive here, and to draw other innovators from other parts of the world as they recognize what Vegreville, Edmonton, Alberta, and Canada have to contribute.
CHIC is an education and business development innovation hub focused on innovations and entrepreneurs in the cannabis and hemp industry sector. CHIC seeks to lever the first mover “Canadian advantage” of legalized cannabis by offering innovative solutions to nurture the development of knowledge, skill-sets and business opportunities in this sector. CHIC brings together key stakeholders including academic experts, industry representatives and associated government bodies to develop leadership and stewardship of a productive and sustainable cannabis and hemp industry in Canada and beyond.