Keenan Pascal brings innovation to emerging industries
Job Title: CEO, Token Naturals
Following the legalization of cannabis in Canada, a friend of Keenan Pascal’s was looking to launch a cannabis beverage, but could not find an appropriate manufacturer. Looking for a new opportunity after a career in finance, Pascal was intrigued by the challenge and pursued the relatively untapped market of cannabis manufacturing.
“It’s a very heavily regulated market and you have to do so much upfront legwork to actually get the process started,” Pascal says. “I was in a place where I had a little bit of flexibility, so I decided to give it a try.”
After four years of perseverance, Pascal become one of the first Black CEOs, among approximately 600 recipients, to receive a federal standard cannabis processing licence.
While pursuing the licence, Pascal started making bitters for his bartending friends to show investors that his company could make a finished, consumer-ready packaged good. Demand for the product grew. Pascal started scaling up production, eventually becoming the largest bitters manufacturer in Alberta.
“It’s a very Edmonton story,” Pascal says. And the bitter flavours carry very Edmonton names, from Strathcona Orange to Highlands Mojito.
As a leader in emerging industries, Token Naturals works with partners, suppliers and different brands to provide support and encouragement to those wanting to try their hand at entrepreneurship.
“A rising tide lifts all boats — we try to open the door where we can and are trying to grow these industries and make room for everyone.”