Desiree Perez, The Parent Company Announce First Social Equity Venture Fund Investment

Desiree Perez, the visionary behind a groundbreaking social justice initiative in cannabis, is already beginning to see the impact of that work. Perez and The Parent Company recently announced the first investment from its social equity corporate venture fund.

Perez is chief social equity officer and a board member of The Parent Company, a vertically integrated, California-based cannabis company. Earlier this year, the company announced the creation of a unique venture fund that looks to find, develop and support entrepreneurs of color in the cannabis industry.

The venture fund is designed to build generational wealth and diversify the cannabis industry. It provides both the capital necessary for success and mentorship to leading new voices in the profession as The Parent Company seeks to build a more equitable industry.

Desiree Perez has been a leading player in the launch of the fund. She is The Parent Company’s Chief Social Equity Officer and sits on the board along with musician Jay-Z and a panel of industry experts, social change executives, and other leaders. The Parent Company has pledged $10 million in initial funding for the venture, plus 2 percent of all future net income the company generates.

The company’s commitment to the entrepreneurs it invests in goes well beyond financial backing. The Parent Company will also provide operational insights and thought leadership before, during, and after funding identified businesses.

First Investment Supports Cannabis Speakeasy

With Desiree Perez providing guidance from her years championing social justice and diversifying industries, The Parent Company recently announced its first investment. Josephine & Billie’s, a cannabis brand and retail company based in Los Angeles is the first business to benefit from the social justice venture fund.

Josephine & Billie’s is designed to provide a welcoming, educational retail space for women of color and to fill a major void in the Los Angeles market.

The concept is a first of its kind and is inspired by the Jazz Age of “tea pads” that were common in Black communities in the 1920s and 1930s. Guests were able to enjoy cannabis, jazz, and community in a relaxed, safe environment. Josephine & Billie’s will provide curated products featuring a wide range of items from brands owned by women and people of color, along with popular items from The Parent Company’s product portfolio.

Using the funds from The Parent Company’s investment, Josephine & Billie’s plans to launch its first retail location before the end of 2021. The company expects to use the space for intimate events focused on wellness and culture while creating a space for women of color within the cannabis community.

“We established this fund to help break down the systematic barriers that Black and other minority entrepreneurs face as they seek to secure meaningful participation, growth, and leadership in this multi-billion-dollar industry,” said Perez in announcing the fund’s launch.

Whitney Beatty, the founder of Josephine & Billie’s, was thrilled with the investment. She notes that the war on drugs has disproportionately affected communities of color. Legalization, she noted, allowed these disenfranchised communities to gain access to cannabis’ healing properties.

Neither company released the financial terms of the investment.

Desiree Perez a Trailblazer for Growing Cannabis Business

Desiree Perez, who with Jay-Z built Roc Nation into a global powerhouse in music and entertainment, has long been at the forefront of social justice movements.

Perez served for 12 years as Roc Nation’s chief operating officer before being named CEO in 2019. During her time in the C-suite, she has worked extensively to influence social justice issues. Team Roc, Roc Nation’s charitable arm, has established college scholarships for Black and brown students and worked closely with the families of victims of police brutality.

This fall, Perez will see the realization of another dream with the opening of the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment at Long Island University. Much like the work of The Parent Company’s social justice fund, Perez feels the school, and a related summer camp for New York children aged 10–18, can act as a way to discover, foster, and support new talent.

Originally published at https://weedindustry.org on July 19, 2021.

Desiree Perez is a music industry executive with decades of experience in the business, and currently serves as CEO of Roc Nation.