“Mother Company” Creates Opportunities for Women in Cannabis

Khemia aims to solve the problem of women lacking access to capital

Khemia co-founders Tracy Saville, Kimberly Cargile, Lisa Salaices and Mindy Galloway.

Khemia co-founders Tracy Saville, Kimberly Cargile, Lisa Salaices and Mindy Galloway.

Photo by Ken Magri

Editor's note: This is the last in a three-part series on women in cannabis. Read the series at www.newsreview.com/sacramento/capital-cannabis.

Year after year, women-founded businesses capture just 2 to 3 percent of all venture capital dollars in America. The cannabis industry follows the same pattern.

“It is more difficult for women to get investment capital,” says Kimberly Cargile, owner of A Therapeutic Alternative. “Older white gentlemen are taking over this industry, and a lot of racial minorities and women aren't able to transition.”

With start-up costs and licenses ranging from hundreds of thousands to a few million dollars, the lack of capital drives small entrepreneurs out of business, or back to the unregulated black market. To tackle that problem, Cargile, Lisa Salaices, Tracy Saville and Mindy Galloway co-founded a new business called Khemia. Galloway calls it a “mother company” that will partner with other women-owned businesses to market cannabis products under a single license.

“By providing a licensed facility, financing, and business development, we want to focus on a new way of doing business that includes collaboration, support and empowerment,” said Galloway.

Saville explained that the umbrella corporation will feature 15-20 “women-led manufactured brands in today's market that are aligned with Khemia's purpose,” which leans toward health and wellness.

As controller, Salaices directs financial operations, and writes the proforma forecasts for investors. “Our investors are experiencing a new dynamic, more authentic,” said Salaices. “How do women operate capitalism? We get to experiment with what that means.”

In this new era of recreational cannabis, Khemia remains serious about the medical side. “Cannabis is accelerating the integration of herbal medicine into our culture,” said Dr. Dianne Bennett, a Sacramento City College chemistry professor who sits on Khemia's advisory board. “I am excited to help our community learn about the health benefits.”

Saville calls cannabis “a blue ocean sector,” where the business opportunities for women are still wide open. Caity Maple, a lobbyist on the advisory board agrees. “It's refreshing to be a part of something innovative that is created and led by women.”

“Khemia is on the crest of the next wave of entrepreneurs who believe love always wins,” said consultant and advisory board member Laura Hansen. “So why not build businesses with it?”

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