Europe is at risk of losing the market share to Africa in the medicinal cannabis industry, and Eco Equity have spotted the global potential.
There is a reluctance by some European policy and law makers to embrace the economic potential of medicinal cannabis and as a result they are seeing opportunities lost to more progressive markets. Europe could lose more ground following Lesotho and Zimbabwe’s decisions to allow cultivation of medicinal cannabis for mass export.
African and Caribbean countries such as Zimbabwe and Antigua have identified the economic opportunity of supporting the growth of the growing global medicinal cannabis industry. Whilst in parts of Europe, some parliamentarians and policy makers have been slower in spotting the commercial benefits of supporting a new industry, governments across the developing world are embracing the export potential, income and job creation that the industry brings.
In order to deliver maximum benefit to national economies, governments are partnering with the private sector in order to ensure these projects are successful.
London-based Eco Equity has spotted the global potential and is at the heart of supporting governments around the world, turning their policy ambitions into a reality.
There is no dispute that the medicinal cannabis industry is one of the fastest emerging markets globally, and the UK – along with other European nations – are only now starting to sit up and take notice.
Zimbabwe is a pioneer of the cultivation of medicinal cannabis with many elements suitable for treatments including cannabidiol (CBD Oil). Facing the prospect of an international ban on one of its largest exports, the tobacco industry, the Zimbabwean government has been proactive in finding an alternative in the form of cannabis and related products. The government realised the economic opportunities in the emerging market, and Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced in August that law changes are set to be introduced to legalise the mass-produced hemp for export overseas.
Governments of any nation will be aware of the challenges surrounding the legalisation of cannabis or any of its derived products. Cannabis for medicinal use is different to recreational use and the stronger strains, but the stigma remains. This arguably explains the reluctance of some European nations to support the industry, but the economic opportunities are sizeable. Governments are turning to experts to help cultivate, manufacture and produce cannabis and its derived products for medicinal use, and the relationship between the Zimbabwean government and Eco Equity is the perfect example of this.
European policy makers need to catch up with public opinion. Eco Equity are seeing the public appetite for medicinal cannabis and the opportunities to get ahead in Africa and the Caribbean, with ambitions to become the lead exporter to Canada, the US and Europe.
Eco Equity was borne out of a common goal from a set of highly skilled business experts and the generosity of several investors; to become a driving force in the medicinal cannabis industry. The company was formed in 2018 and has since become the first cannabis company to have acquired a licence for the cultivation of cannabis, manufacture of products, supply, store, import and export for medicinal purposes and or scientific use in Zimbabwe.
The answer is quite simple. Africa has proven itself more progressive in terms of cannabis, particularly in terms of cultivation, and there is plenty of opportunity to grow, which the continent will benefit from. There is a deep and respectful relationship between policy makers and Eco Equity following the recognition of the need for expert assistance and the decision by military to seek out expertise will only provide benefits to both the country and Africa as a whole.
Eco Equity can highlight recent examples of European countries’ struggles with cultivating cannabis, such as in Italy where the army were instructed to grow their own cannabis, resulting in very little actual growth. The Italian government has since been forced to tender for a cultivator, again highlighting the difference between the attitude and proactivity of policy and law makers in Africa and those in Europe.
There is plenty of work to be done. Eco Equity has learnt from the mistakes of others and looks to use the industry expertise of its various consultants to find the best land, economy and regulations to begin its journey. The company is intent on investing in communities and economies in every country it acquires a licence to aid them in the long term.
The African medicinal cannabis industry is still expanding, and consultancy firm Prohibition Partners estimated that the legalisation of growing cannabis for medicinal use across the continent could result in the market growing to $7.1bn (~€6.4bn) annually.
African countries are learning faster than their European counterparts and with Zimbabwe following Lesotho as the second country on the continent to permit the growth of cannabis for medicinal use, the tools and desire have always been there, they just needed to be utilised. With the proven effects of CBD oil as a medicinal treatment in other countries such as the US and Canada, the willingness of the Zimbabwean government provides an excellent opportunity for Eco Equity to grow.
The company is not working by itself in Zimbabwe. The process of acquiring a licence requires a lot of vetting and Eco Equity had to prove it was the right company for the job. An intimate knowledge of Zimbabwe’s landscape – the place of birth of company CEO and founder Jon-Paul Doran – and strong governmental ties, has placed Eco Equity in a unique position to achieve its mission of growing one of the best medical cannabis products and to be able to provide high-quality infused products to all qualified dispensaries and retail stores on a global scale.
The opportunity in Zimbabwe has never been greater as cannabis is set to compete with tobacco to become the country’s second largest export. The willingness of the Zimbabwean government to amend laws to allow industrial production and export of cannabis shows how serious the government is regarding policy in the cannabidiol industry.
Eco Equity and Zimbabwe
In 2019, Eco Equity Limited acquired a licence for the cultivation of cannabis, manufacture of products, supply, store, import and export for medicinal purposes and or scientific use. The company owns up to 2,000 hectares of long-term leased land in Marondera, approximately 40 miles east of Harare.
The facility is the ideal location for travel to and from the nation’s capital and the perfect setting for a cannabis plant facility, thanks to ideal climate conditions. Eco Equity has acquired a licence to produce ‘export only,’ distribution of Cannabis products to international regulated markets.
The company has set itself the target to be one of Africa’s largest licensed producers of cannabis seed, medicinal extracts, Africa’s leading exporter of CBD and extract into regulated international markets. The company wants to build a successful commercial cultivation facility and build a recognisable brand in a rapidly growing industry, whilst becoming fully compliant with all Zimbabwe state and local municipalities.
Further to the growing of cannabis, Eco Equity is looking to create a long-term legacy by rolling out new initiatives, including plans for university research centres and establishing a well-integrated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program in collaboration with and benefiting the Zimbabwean people and government.
Eco Equity also works alongside partners to help build their greenhouses and sites as well as promote the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use in various countries. Partners Delta Tetra have long been involved in advocating medicinal cannabis as a treatment to be legalised in Australia, and the two companies will work alongside each other to implement Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) with teams on the ground in Zimbabwe to ensure the site is ready.
The GMP processes include manufacturing, operational and security standard operating procedures (SOP) and Eco Equity has partnered with other cannabis companies to ensure the best practice is in place at the facility.
Eco Equity’s link to Zimbabwe is not solely business driven either, as Doran also believes in the importance of investing in the community in which the country operates, creating 100 new jobs in Zimbabwe. Returning to the country of his birth to give back to the community and help rebuild the economy was an important part of the process in Doran’s decision making.
As one of the fastest emerging markets, the medicinal cannabis industry is a new concept to the Zimbabwean government and Eco Equity is helping to shape policy, aiding them through every step of the process, such as measuring quantities of CBD.
The acquisition of a licence from the Zimbabwean government for the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes is only the beginning for this team of ambitious directors. The company has already laid out its blueprint for success with the cannabis markets booming across Europe and the Caribbean.
In an industry full of creative, successful entrepreneurs, Eco Equity had to make its mark early, and the licence acquisition in Zimbabwe is reflective of the drive and expertise of the company’s directors. Coming together from different sectors such as finance, media and the medicinal cannabis industry itself, the team of directors and consultants understand that CBD and its derivative products could help millions of people recover from illness.
Eco Equity has partnered with the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health to develop, own and operate a medicinal cannabis facility in Zimbabwe with the objective to export the products derived from the facility to Canada, USA and Europe. Combining research, development, cultivating, growing and manufacturing, Eco Equity’s mission is to advance the medical extracts, related products and sector as a whole and developing products that are safe, effective and affordable for export.
Doran has over 10 years’ experience in finance having started his career at Citigroup. In 2018 he set up his own wealth management and private equity firm Axium Capital and through Axium has successfully raised capital and taken part in some of the UK’s biggest IPO’s of the last two years. He was born in Zimbabwe and through his strong connections in the region has enabled eco-equity to navigate a successful licence application.
Doran said, “I and the team of directors at Eco Equity are committed to producing the highest quality cannabis and CBD oil for medical treatments. We chose Zimbabwe as the ideal location for our first plantation due to the progressive nature and willingness of the government to allow cannabis cultivation. Our goal is to expand our operations to other markets including the Caribbean and Europe. Our current belief is that European governments are not acting quickly enough to realise the benefits of medicinal cannabis or CBD oil, and hopefully our success in this field will create opportunities for the industry to grow.”
Who are Eco Equity?
Eco Equity is run by a team of highly motivated, driven business experts with a common interest; cannabis. The company has pulled together various specialisms and used the extensive knowledge of the markets to transform Eco Equity into a force in the cannabis market.
Eco Equity has a team of 11 based in London, Zimbabwe and Antigua headed by Doran, Timothy Ambrose and Soheil Ghaffari as Master Horticulturist.
Ambitions for the future
Having already formed partnerships with renowned cannabis companies in DutchGreenhouses and Delta Tetra in Holland and Australia respectively, Eco Equity is continuing to attract investors and potential future partners. A team from Delta Tetra is on the ground and is actively assisting Eco Equity with the process of writing, implementing and training the Eco Equity team on GMP certification is critical in attracting the right partners to continue the grow the company into the appropriate markets.
Eco Equity is at the forefront of the medicinal cannabis industry revolution in Africa, and with a new licence acquired in Antigua and new opportunities in North American markets, the future is bright for the company and as policy makers begin to take notice of the growing industry, it is set to become one of the most respected and renowned cannabis companies in the UK and on the continent.
JPD Capital fund
The continued work of Eco Equity in Zimbabwe from its headquarters in London has not gone unnoticed. The medicinal cannabis industry growth in the UK – from zero to £300 million – is reflective of the global acknowledgment of cannabidiol as a treatment. The Guernsey based UK hedge fund counts Eco Equity as part of its portfolio, as well as other ventures in Europe, the UK and Antigua.
The growth in the market shows that investing in the medicinal cannabis industry will result in positive returns and the time is right to invest as the market diversifies, leaving plenty of opportunities across Europe as it plays catch up to the other markets.
The strong belief that medicinal cannabis has the potential to save lives forms the sole investment policy of the capital fund. It is accessible for many and has the potential to provide a natural cure for people in need.
Meet the team
Jon-Paul Doran – CEO & Founder
Doran was born in Zimbabwe, and through his vast connections has enabled EcoEquity to navigate a successful licence application. With over 10 years’ experience in finance, Doran started his career at Citigroup. Doran moved into the medicinal cannabis industry after identifying the opportunities in the market and the chance to help provide alternative treatments to those in need of care. Doran has also set up his own hedge fund, JPD Capital, to help investors make returns. In 2018 Doran set up his own wealth management and private equity firm Axium Capital and through Axium has successfully raised capital & taken part in some of the UK’s biggest IPO’s of the last two years.
Timothy Ambrose – Co-Founder & COO
Ambrose has been with Eco Equity since the beginning and has expertise in various fields, allowing him to lead Eco Equity to the forefront of the medicinal cannabis industry in the UK. A vastly experienced executive, Ambrose has built and lead high-performing commercial operations and digital operations throughout his career. Ambrose started his professional career at McKinsey before holding executive roles at DMGT, Trinity Mirror plc and, more recently, Local World Ltd where he was part of the team that completed a £220 million sale of the business to Trinity Mirror in October 2016. In addition to his role at Eco Equity, Ambrose acts as COO of Axium Capital.
Soheil Ghaffari – Master Horticulturalist
Ghaffari has been a cultivator/breeder of cannabis for the last 12 years, creating formidable genetics such as SherbOZK which has become an urban legend amongst the cannabis community. In recent years Ghaffari has gone on to win multiple local and international awards with his genetics and passion for cultivation. We are looking forward to planning and executing the most cutting-edge cultivation methods and technology with a combination of Ghaffari’s expertise to bring the medical market the very best of medical cannabis. Our mission is to provide the best quality product free of any pesticides and heavy metals that will help better the quality of a patient’s life.
Working with Eco Equity is an opportunity to increase your returns as well as contributing to an industry that can help save and better lives. To find out more information about working with Eco Equity, or investing with the JPD Capital Fund, please call the London office on +44 (0)207 043 1541 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article will appear in Health Europa Quarterly Issue 11, which is available to read now.