/hät/- /bäks/

noun – An enclosed session where successful and proven canna-investors listen to budding entrepreneurs’ business propositions.  Ideas are sparked by business pitches; secondhand ideas are repeatedly inhaled and exhaled resulting in a potent opportunity for Hot Box contestants. 

“The Hot Box” is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their pre-existing cannabis businesses or new cannabis business ideas to a select panel.  This panel consists of premier accredited investors and business accelerators with over 10 million dollars combined in cannabis venture investments. Successful start-ups have the potential to gain funding, strategic partnerships, and/or business acceleration resources.

Shanita Penny – Budding Solutions

Hot Box – Igniter

Budding Solutions is a boutique cannabis consulting firm based in Baltimore, MD. Our mission is to change the perception of cannabis on a global scale through the creation and management of compliant and successful cannabis businesses. We provide a variety of consulting and management services including: Project Management, Application Preparation, Operations Management, Cultivation Operations, Marketing and Product Development for startups and established organizations in the Cannabis Industry. No project or client is too small or too large for us!!!

Shanita Penny M.B.A. is an internationally recognized management consultant with over a decade of experience helping companies solve complex issues and improve business performance. As a certified Project Management Professional and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Shanita brings a much needed skillset to the cannabis industry.

To participate in The Hot Box contact [email protected]


Fuse 1 – Fima Tkachenko

Fima has a passion for growing the best marijuana on the market and has a solid track record of just that. He aggressively pursues new growing techniques and nutrient ratios for the cannabis plant to stay ahead of the competition. Fima is the founder and operator of Tetra Hydro Center in Denver, Colorado. Tetra Hydro Center operates both a medical and recreational dispensary. Tetra was one of Denver’s 1st dispensaries, making Fima a true American Cannabis pioneer. Fima immigrated from the Ukraine at a very young age. Like many Ukrainians, chasing the American dream landed him in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn New York. Fima moved to Denver looking for a better life shortly before Colorado legalized medical marijuana. Fima’s no nonsense approach to business and years of navigating the cannabis world has made him a much admired business leader.

Fima Tkachenko direction and strategy for Tetra Hydro Centers operations, including sales, support, consulting, marketing, and alliances. He focuses on strategy, leadership, innovation, and customers. Says Fema, “It’s our job as a company to help our customers save money and provide them with the best medicine available in the world.”

Since founding Tetra Hydro Center, Fima Tkachenko has worked to share Tetra’s strategy and vision with budding entrepreneurs. Helping many companies get off the ground. “Our strategy is to operate our dispensary with integrity & help the communities we serve,” says Mr. Tkachenko.
Fima vividly portrays the American dream. Mr Tkachenko lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado with his wife and 4 beautiful children.    

Fuse 2 – Kevin Kafka

Kevin is the Managing Director and Founder of the first New England and Mid-Atlantic medical marijuana evaluation center, Canna Care Docs—which provides access to state medical marijuana programs in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Arizona, and Maryland. Kevin has worked in Colorado’s booming cannabis market since 2006 as a cultivator, entrepreneur, and as founder/operator of Kafka Consultants. Kevin has help fund numerous Cannabis business and has provided mentorship to many young Cannabis entrepreneurs. He is honored to have the opportunity to help Mid-Atlantic entrepreneurs with guidance and funding for stellar cannabis business plans. Kevin resides in Nederland, Colorado with his wife, two young daughters, and his dog Roxie.

Fuse 3 – Sterling Crockett

Sterling Crockett is a visionary leader offering over 30 years of innovative, imperative business practices that create value and masterfully inspire teams to high performance in meeting complex challenges. He is a strategic industrialist whose thoughtful leadership, decisive insight, and experience as chair of five corporations and agencies has made meaningful impacts on corporate governance, infrastructure, and community mentorship on local, national, and international levels.

Most recently, Mr. Crockett assumed the position of General Manager for GTI-Maryland, leading GTI’s diversity efforts to secure investments from minority investors, economic benefit, and the campaign to build a medical cannabis cultivation facility in Washington County, Maryland.

Fuse 4 – Tim Shaw

Tim Shaw is a small business owner and entrepreneur since 2010 with more than 15 years of horticulture knowledge and an extensive consultative background. He is cofounder of Betty’s Edibles, CEO of Green Matters Hydroponic Supply, and Senior VP of Marimed Advisors. He is focused on creative business ideas and always investigating new business opportunities.

Fuse 5 – William Flanagan

William Flanagan, former Mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts is a zealous advocate and a passionate leader in law, business, and government with talent, drive, and an extensive track record of achievements. Currently practicing in the Areas of: Criminal Law, Real Estate and Title Law, Civil Litigation; Business and Corporate Law Including Contracts and Commercial Paper, Employment Law, Municipal Law, Bankruptcy, Personal Injury Law, Family Law; Estate Planning and Probate. Mr. Flanagan is also President and Founder of the Flanagan Group. In this role, he is Entrepreneur and Angel Investor, and professional Advisor to Companies, Nonprofits, as well as Governmental Agencies.

Interested in participating in The Hot Box? Fill out an application.

Competition Guidelines

All competitors will receive feedback from the panel of judges on their pitch. 
One winner will gain access to business consulting and development through EntreVation to take their concept or business to the next phase.

Event Agenda

1:00pm – 1:30pm

Check-in and Networking


Keynote Address


Pitches Begin


Pitches Conclude

4:30pm – 5:00pm

Networking and Awards


Submissions may be entered as individuals or teams.

The maximum number of team members for a single pitch is limited to 5 persons.

Each individual or team pitching may enter one idea or concept.
Pitch competitors may participate on multiple teams.

Only the pitching individual or the pitching members of a team may pitch to the panel of judges or answer questions from the judges and/or audience.


The pitched idea or concept must be the original work of the individual or team pitching it.

Ideas and concepts deemed by The Hot Box Organizing Committee to be fake, insincere, offensive, immoral, or unethical may be screened and disqualified.

The Hot Box Organizing Committee has the sole discretion to disqualify and/or remove any individual or teams for any reason that it deems appropriate before and/or during the pitch competition for violation of these rules.  All decisions regarding an individual’s or team’s removal and/or disqualification from the pitch competition are final.

Pitch Guidelines

1) Objective

The objective of the pitch is to simply define the idea or concept by explaining a product, service, or value proposition in short duration of time (5 minutes max).

Note: Pitch competition is not a “sales pitch.”  Although, the judges want to see passion and energy from the entrepreneur(s) pitching, please DO NOT try to “sell” the product or service to judges.  Judges are not thinking about buying the product or service, but understand the value proposition of the idea or concept.

2) Introduction

Introduce or open the pitch with an interesting question or statement that spikes the interest of the judges and the audience.  Follow the introduction by showing how the question or statement relates to the product or service.  Keep the audience’s attention alive.  If there is no observable passion about the idea or concept, chances are the judges or the audience will not have passion for it either.

3) Pitch

Remember, the pitch is simple summary of the idea or concept, i.e. the product or service, and how it addresses pain points in the market.  Within the time limit, it should cover the following:

i.  Product or Service – Briefly describe the product or service.

ii.  Value Proposition – How is the product or service going to add value for customers?

iii.  Target Market – Who will be buying the product or service?

iv.  Market Size – How big is the target market?

v.  Differentiation – How is the product or service different from existing     competition? What is the competitive advantage? (patent, algorithm, unique service model, etc.)

vi.  Revenue Model – How will the product or service generate revenue? (sales, subscription, advertisement, etc.)

vii.  Revenue Estimate – How much to expect to sell in the first year of business?

4) Time

Time is of essence.  There are five (5) minutes allocated to each individual or team pitching an idea or concept.  There are ten (10) minutes allocated for a Q & A session with the judges. In total, each individual or team pitching will have fifteen (15) minutes maximum; five (5) minutes to pitch the idea or concept and ten (10) minutes to answer questions from judges and get valuable feedback.  Time will begin when the presenter begins to speak.

5) Other Guidelines

The use of PowerPoint or slide presentations is allowed at The Hot Box. Please submit presentations to [email protected] by COB on 8/19/16.   Individuals or teams can display/share/show their prototype, samples, or posters.


Confidentiality is not guaranteed in any way. Do not include confidential material in your submissions.  There is no way for The Hot Box or its Organizers to enforce a prohibition of other competitors, audience members, or judges who see and hear a pitch competitor’s materials from sharing the idea and/or materials.

Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) between a competitor and the judges and/or audience members will not be required or allowed.

Sharing your idea or concept may be deemed a public disclosure, so if you are interested in filing a patent, you may need to consult with a patent attorney before entering the competition.

The Hot Box or its Organizers are not responsible for any confidentiality issues that may occur during the course of the competition and will not be involved in any way with disputes arising therefrom.

The Hot Box or its Organizers may take photographs and/or video of any materials used or made available by pitching individuals or teams during the competition for public relations purposes.  Any content presented by a competitor should be considered public knowledge.

Competitors may exclude any proprietary information or materials that the competitor feels is at risk of disclosure.