BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – A Boulder-based business accelerator looks to expand growth of the $2.7 billion legal marijuana industry by providing pot entrepreneurs with training and capital for the cannabis industry.

CanopyBoulder labels itself a “seed-stage” business incubator for pot entrepreneurs, the first of its kind. Canopy helps startup companies by giving them $20,000 and three months of mentoring and training. And in return, Canopy receives a 9.5 percent of equity in the business. CBS News spoke with two business owners who were accepted to the new program.

There were $2.7 billion in sales last year in states including Colorado that have legalized recreational or medicinal marijuana use. Should more states follow, billions more are expected to flow in the coming years. Some of CanopyBoulder’s in-house “mentors” such as venture capitalist, Patrick Rea, are investing in exactly that pot prediction.

The company uses data-based figures to answer business marketing and product questions such as, “Are pot candies better than chocolates?”

“Success for us at the end of the day is about return on investment for investors, good old fashioned business. If you can’t do that, you can’t do anything – in any industry,” said Rea, who is the co-founder & wellness industry expert for MISO Capital. “I’d like to say that we’re coming from the future almost.”

RELATED STORIES: Marijuana Legalization Story Archive

The company ranges from public speaking practice to pro-forma financials and other fundamental business concepts needed to boost marijuana entrepreneurs from across the country. One couple sells vaporizer pipes for personal use in homes – and hopes to take their business nationwide as legalization is expanded across more state lines.

One recently accepted candidate to the program is English-born, Harvard MBA Roy Bingham, who worked in the banking industry before moving from Rhode Island to Boulder.

“This is precisely where I’m going to get the information that I need,” said Bingham, of his new data-based business launch.

CanopyBoulder doesn’t sell marijuana itself, but instead sells pot-related products so as to avoid breaking federal laws.

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