Marijuana Business Daily has been awarded a spot on the Women Presidents’ Organization’s “Top 50 Fastest-Growing Women-owned or Women-led Companies.” The business ranked ninth and it is the first time a cannabis-related business has made the list of 50.
Marijuana Business Daily posted its first story on April 19, 2011. In 2017, the business-to-business cannabis industry website’s revenue was in the $18 million-dollar range with a goal of 50 employees by the middle of this year.
“The first few years were very low and slow,” said Cassandra Farrington, CEO and co-founder of the Colorado-based, self-funded company. “We’ve been growing as [fast as]a rocket ship since then.”
Farrington and her company were honored May 3 by the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) as part of the 2018 WPO Annual Conference, along with 49 other of the fastest-growing women-owned or -led companies as determined by a WPO sales growth formula.
According to WPO President and Founder Marsha Firestone, the 50 Fastest-Growing Women Led/Owned Companies annual ranking began in 2007 as a way to provide more visibility for women-owned and led companies and to counter the perception that they were all small, mom-and-pop operations.
In order to qualify for the ranking, businesses had to be privately-held companies owned or led by a woman that reached annual revenues of at least $500,000 as of Jan. 1, 2013. WPO membership isn’t required.
“We don’t decide what industries to include,” she said. “The ranking is open to every woman-owned/led business that meets the revenue requirements. That’s what it takes to be included.”
Farrington said that as a Colorado resident with a business background – she was a vice president at Citigroup and has an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin – she saw an opportunity to create a resource for the burgeoning cannabis industry.
“There was definitely an industry in development at that point and that was the business opportunity that we saw,” she said.
As the industry has grown, so has the competition in both business-to-business and consumer cannabis-themed websites.
“[The industry is] so much bigger and broader and more professional and more expansive and international, more than I think anybody believed it could be,” she said.
Farrington sees Marijuana Business Daily as a journalism-based organization keeping entrepreneurs and business owners informed as key in this day of “cannabis normalization.”
“The business picture is a critical component of that,” she said. “The way that it’s going to move forward from here is going to be based on jobs and taxes and economic development. … At the end of the day, that’s what’s gonna get it done in the halls of Congress.”
In her time heading the company, Farrington has experienced the cannabis industry as quite accepting of women in positions of power.
“I do think the cannabis industry is fairly unique in the overall picture of the economy in how many women executives there are,” she said. “I know that I have a peer group out there.”
She said the biggest challenge she’s experienced in running this business is its success.
“This type of fast growth is a huge challenge in and of itself. … I feel like I’ve been running a sprint and it’s on a marathon course,” she said, but “I love what I’m doing. I love this industry that I’m helping and I absolutely love my team.”
Farrington said she was very excited and proud when she learned the company was within the top 10 of fastest-growing women’s businesses in the country.
“I’m excited to be the first of many,” she said of being the first cannabis-related business to make the list. “This industry is growing so quickly and there are so many female entrepreneurs in this space. … I’m absolutely confident that I will not be the last.”