Basem Hanna has founded several successful businesses in the real estate, cannabis and capital markets industries including TREC Brands, Almega Co., and TerrAscend.
Almega Co: Basem has over ten years of experience in the real estate sector and has been intimately involved in the acquisition, development and disposition of over $1B in real estate assets throughout North America. Basem founded Almega Co. that has two operating subsidiaries: Almega Asset Management, focusing on the acquisition, development and operations of income producing assets, as well as Almega Property Management that focuses on the management of third party income producing assets, predominantly individual condominium units.
TREC Brands: Basem is the co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors for TREC Brands, a socially-conscious cannabis brand holding company, which has successfully launched 3 brands (WINK, Blissed and Thumbs Up) and 10 product SKUs with many more in development.
Prior to TREC, Basem co-founded TerrAscend Corp. (TER.CN), a global cannabinoid company, where he served as CEO and oversaw a company that now has an annual revenue of over $120M with a market cap in excess of $1B, as well as the completion of a $52.5M, non-brokered, private placement with JW Asset Management and Canopy Growth Corporation.
Basem earned his HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business in 2007.
As the founder of Almega Co., what would you say has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenges are finding learnings from failure and dealing with rejection. I believe both are things that every entrepreneur deals with. The first time I started a business, I failed. I actually tried to start a real estate company before Almega Co. I had raised money, tied up a property and while I was good to go operationally, I didn’t know enough yet about how to actually close a deal. It didn’t go through, I lost money and I could have easily given up there, but I studied my mistakes and tried again. From there, Almega Co. was born. It’s only over if you give up.
You have over a decade of experience in the real estate industry and have had quite a successful career. What would you say are the strategies you’ve used that have contributed to your success?
Two things. First, don’t put off tomorrow, what you can do today, and second, do your best and forget the rest. It’s important to give 100% to everything you do or else you can’t expect to achieve good results. My success wasn’t easy; it took a lot of hard work, dedication, research, and a steep learning curve to understand the real estate sector. That path is much easier when you know that you’re going to give it your all, whatever it is, do not put it off until late.
It’s no surprise that the current COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on landlords and the real estate industry. What advice can you give to property managers when it comes to initiatives they can implement to help landlords and tenants during COVID-19?
Be a source of calm, have compassion, and listen. The landlord-tenant relationship is among one of the most affected during this period of uncertainty, especially as both parties have different vulnerabilities when it comes to paying and collecting rent. Now more than ever, property managers play an important role in ensuring that both sides feel heard and come to a resolution that they can agree on. It’s important to listen and remember that being human comes first.
Almega Co. recently made an announcement that they will be setting up a Relief Fund initiative to help its residents. Can you further elaborate on this program and how it will benefit those who have been impacted by COVID-19?
We launched the Almega Co. COVID-19 Relief Fund to support our most vulnerable tenants in paying their rent. We’re contributing our property management revenue from the month of April to this cause and doing our part to ensure our tenants feel secure in their living situation right now. I think as business leaders, we have a responsibility right now to step up and see how we can support our community.
On a final note, you’re a strong believer that leadership is rooted in empathy and setting an example. Why do you believe that is?
When you lead by example, you are and make an effort to connect with people – whether it’s your client, team, friend, or family – it allows you to be understanding and empathetic, especially during challenging times.