Startup Stories: National Industrial Hemp Council
New associations launch to fill a void in their sector. Here, newbies tell us what got them started, how they’re succeeding, and what they plan to do next.
National Industrial Hemp Council
Launch: May 2019
Leadership: Board Chair Patrick Atagi
NIHC was launched to promote the market development of hemp-based products, support new entrants into the field, and educate consumers. “We’re looking, long term, to protect the brand of hemp,” says Atagi, who owns a hemp farm. While hemp is a versatile crop, it is often conflated with marijuana and CBD oil. “That is one sector of the industry, but it is way more than that—hemp is a plant with broad applications and benefits: animal feed, human feed, and textiles. If something happens in one sector, you don’t want it to affect the entire industry.”
Atagi has spent decades working at associations, so he knew how get the ball rolling. NIHC already has two state affiliates (Arizona and Florida) and organized a major meeting, scoring top-level regulatory officials as speakers. “Really, these things usually take three years,” Atagi says. “We are extremely quick.”
Currently relying on management by an AMC, a few contractors, and its volunteer board, NIHC wants to establish a more permanent structure to carry out its mission. “We need our own brick-and-mortar space and full-time employees. We are looking at raising $1.5 million in the next year,” Atagi says.
(Ivan Mikhaylov/Getty Images)