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22nd Century Group Expands VLN® Tobacco Growing Program to Support Anticipated Demand of the Company’s Reduced Nicotine Content Cigarettes


WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y., Jan. 11, 2021 — 22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE American: XXII), a leading plant-based, biotechnology company that is focused on tobacco harm reduction, very low nicotine content tobacco, and hemp/cannabis research, announced today that the Company will significantly expand its growing program for VLN® reduced nicotine content tobacco based on the Company’s latest sales projections. This new planting for VLN® tobacco is in addition to the Company’s sizeable inventory of VLN® tobacco, which is earmarked for the launch and initial sales of 22nd Century’s VLN® reduced nicotine content cigarettes. 22nd Century’s Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) application for VLN® cigarettes is currently in the final stage of review with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Once authorization is granted, 22nd Century will begin marketing its VLN® cigarettes, which contain 95% less nicotine than conventional cigarette brands. Having the only combustible cigarette with a modified exposure claim authorized by the FDA could serve as a catalyst for 22nd Century’s commercial sales as capturing even a small fraction of U.S. tobacco sales could result in exponential growth in the Company’s revenues and market capitalization.

“We are prepared to launch our VLN® cigarettes within 90 days after receiving marketing authorization from the FDA,” said James A. Mish, chief executive officer of 22nd Century Group. “There are more than 34 million smokers in the United States and research shows that a majority of these smokers are looking for alternatives. When shown samples of VLN®, 60 percent of adult smokers in our studies indicated an interest in using VLN® cigarettes. Additionally, in a 2019 U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey, 80 percent of U.S. smokers favored reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes. We believe adult smokers will be very interested in VLN®, and this new crop of VLN® tobacco will help us to fulfill the expected demand based on our latest sales projections.”

Mish continues, “In addition to introducing VLN® to smokers in the U.S., we are absolutely committed to licensing our technology to every cigarette manufacturer, so that they can comply with the FDA’s plan to make all cigarettes non-addictive. We look forward to the tobacco industry joining our efforts to truly reduce the harm caused by smoking and protect future generations from ever becoming addicted to cigarettes.”

In partnership with select tobacco farmers, 22nd Century will plant this new VLN® tobacco throughout the U.S. tobacco belt, thereby creating a new income stream for America’s struggling family farmers. The Company’s proprietary, reduced nicotine content tobacco contains, on average, just 0.5 milligrams of nicotine per gram of tobacco – a remarkable reduction in nicotine versus conventional cigarette tobaccos which often contain 20 mg to 30 mg nicotine per gram of tobacco.

With 95 percent less nicotine than typical cigarettes, VLN® cigarettes will serve as a vanguard for the FDA’s ground-breaking Comprehensive Plan for Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation. Published in 2017, the plan aims to set a product standard for cigarettes that achieves “minimally or non-addictive” levels of nicotine. The FDA projects that within the first year of implementing a mandate, it will help more than five million adult smokers to quit smoking and will save more than eight million American lives by the end of the century.

Within 90 days of the FDA’s authorization of its MRTP application, the Company plans to rollout VLN® King and VLN® Menthol King cigarettes to retail tobacco outlets in the U.S. The launch of VLN® will be paired with a compelling marketing campaign to introduce adult tobacco smokers to the world’s lowest nicotine content cigarette.

About 22nd Century Group, Inc. 22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE American: XXII) is a leading plant biotechnology company focused on technologies that alter the level of nicotine in tobacco plants and the level of cannabinoids in hemp/cannabis plants through genetic engineering, gene-editing, and modern plant breeding. 22nd Century’s primary mission in tobacco is to reduce the harm caused by smoking through the Company’s proprietary reduced nicotine content tobacco cigarettes – containing 95% less nicotine than conventional cigarettes. The Company’s primary mission in hemp/cannabis is to develop and commercialize proprietary hemp/cannabis plants with valuable cannabinoid profiles and desirable agronomic traits.

Learn more at, on Twitter @_xxiicentury and on LinkedIn.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements Except for historical information, all of the statements, expectations, and assumptions contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements typically contain terms such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “consider,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “explore,” “foresee,” “goal,” “guidance,” “intend,” “likely,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “preliminary,” “probable,” “project,” “promising,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” “would,” and similar expressions. Actual results might differ materially from those explicit or implicit in forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are set forth in “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on March 11, 2020 and in its subsequently filed Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. All information provided in this release is as of the date hereof, and the Company assumes no obligation to and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

Investor Relations & Media Contact: Mei Kuo Director, Communications & Investor Relations 22nd Century Group, Inc. (716) 300-1221 [email protected]

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CUHK Business School Research Examines the Pivotal Role of Entrepreneurial Experience for Entrepreneurs Launching New Start-ups


HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 25 February 2021 – How important is experience in entrepreneurial success? If you take a look at the world’s most successful businesspeople, the anecdotal evidence would point to the negative. Consider that Bill Gates didn’t have any experience running a business before Microsoft, and neither did Steve Jobs before co-founding Apple. Fast forward to more recently, and we had Mark Zuckerberg launching Facebook from his dorm room at Harvard.

Success stories like these seem to suggest that experience is not a requirement to making it big as an entrepreneur. In reality, about 90 percent of new start-ups fail in the U.S., and only a handful of companies can make it to the long run. A top reason for this low success rate? Many budding entrepreneurs are highly creative but they fail to study their market sufficiently (a business skill), and as a result launched highly innovative products that nobody really needed. It is against this backdrop that a recent research study has found experience allows entrepreneurs to better balance their creative and business roles to avoid potential pitfalls on the road to entrepreneurial success.

The research examines how previous entrepreneurial experience could influence entrepreneurs when they have to juggle multiple roles when starting up their businesses. It found that entrepreneurs with no prior experience tend to concentrate too much on one role, such as being the product developer and lose sight of other important things. On the other hand, experienced entrepreneurs tend to do a more balanced job.

“Being an entrepreneur is a balancing act. Although entrepreneurs should seek to produce products which are both unique and useful as well as being commercially viable, doing so can be difficult. For example, an entrepreneur may channel their inner inventor to create highly unique products, but that’s no good if they don’t consider market demand. It is essential for entrepreneurs to achieve both goals simultaneously to succeed,” says Ying-yi Hong, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Management and Principal Investigator of the Culture Lab at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School.

Missing the Forest for the Trees

Her study “Missing the Forest for the Trees: Prior Entrepreneurial Experience, Role Identity, and Entrepreneurial Creativity” was co-conducted with Prof. Siran Zhan at the University of New South Wales College and Prof. Marilyn Ang Uy at Nanyang Technological University. Some existing research literature on entrepreneurship focus on the journey or personal qualities of successful entrepreneurs, while others studied the mindset and behaviours of these entrepreneurs. Prof. Hong and her co-authors combined the two factors and tackled the topic from a “person-by-situation” interaction approach.

This approach assumes entrepreneurs take on different roles, such as that of an inventor or businessperson, and these are triggered by different situations. For example, an entrepreneur would play the role of a salesman during a pitch meeting, but the same person would wear the inventor hat when dealing with product design in the lab. When the entrepreneur plays the role of a salesperson, their attention would be more focused on the profitability of the product and less on the product design, and vice versa. When too much attention is given to the tasks related to one role, entrepreneurs might overlook other equally important aspects, creating the so-called “missing the forest for the trees” effect.

“We expect experienced entrepreneurs to have developed a more holistic knowledge structure in which their inventor and businessperson roles are integrated. In contrast, novice entrepreneurs who lack prior entrepreneurial experience may see their two role identities as separate and disjointed,” Prof. Hong comments. “Thus, experienced entrepreneurs tend to be capable of processing a greater amount of information in a given instance and see the big picture, which novices tend to neglect.”

To test their theory, the researchers recruited 108 entrepreneurs who were in the process of starting a new venture to participate in an experiment. Among the participants, 40 were experienced entrepreneurs who had started businesses before. The participants were first asked to recall and write about their experience as an inventor or a businessperson. They were then told to submit ideas for a product or service to sell to university students. Their ideas were then evaluated in terms of how novel or commercially viable they were by experts with substantial experience in entrepreneurship.

The study found that entrepreneurs with less experience tend to produce fewer ideas that were deemed novel when asked to assume the role of a businessperson, whereas experienced entrepreneurs were able to maintain their ability to generate creative ideas even when they were in salesman mode. On the other hand, inexperienced entrepreneurs produced fewer ideas that were deemed by experts to be commercially viable when they assume the role of an inventor while experienced entrepreneurs did not display any reduction in performance.

The effect is even more pronounced when the entrepreneur is forced by circumstances to take up a specific role. For example, an entrepreneur under pressure to raise funds for their project must fulfil the role of a businessperson and put their inventor self aside. Prof. Hong says such a tension-ridden situation would likely to result in reducing creativity, especially among inexperienced entrepreneurs. The study results confirmed this conjecture, with the business ideas of experienced entrepreneurs being 12.7 percent more creative and 7.7 percent more profitable than inexperienced entrepreneurs when they were placed in that situation.

Interestingly, experienced entrepreneurs were 9.4 percent less innovative than inexperienced entrepreneurs when there was no tension between the two roles. The study explained that new entrepreneurs might be better at learning at being an inventor and thus were able to produce more innovative ideas. However, overall experienced entrepreneurs were able to perform more consistently regardless of the situation.

How Does Experience Help?

So why does being able to integrate the disparate creative and business roles into their entrepreneurial identity prevent experienced entrepreneurs from falling into blind spots? Prof. Hong and her co-authors sought to explain this from a cognitive perspective. The brain can form networks of associated ideas through learning and experience. For example, the word “fire engine” is likely to be associated with the colour “red” and the image of “vehicle” in our minds because we have learned it in the past.

They reason that experienced entrepreneurs would in the past have encountered numerous situations which required skills from both their creative and business sides. These situations would have stimulated them to reconcile their different demands and as a result they become better able to distribute their attention to the related tasks evenly. In doing so, experienced entrepreneurs develop a close association between their creative and business mindsets, such that the activation of one role would trigger the activation of the other. Therefore, an experienced entrepreneur can be an inventor and a salesperson at the same time in different situations.

Commenting on practical implications, Prof. Hong suggests inexperienced entrepreneurs to team up with business partners who have prior entrepreneurial experience or consider getting an experienced mentor. “An experienced entrepreneur or mentor can maintain the ‘big picture’ for the team and help the novice entrepreneur avoid the inherent blind spot,” says Prof. Hong.


Zhan, S., Marilyn A Uy and Ying-Yi Hong. “Missing the Forest for the Trees: Prior Entrepreneurial Experience, Role Identity, and Entrepreneurial Creativity.Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice (2020): 104225872095229.

This article was first published in the China Business Knowledge (CBK) website by CUHK Business School:

About CUHK Business School

CUHK Business School comprises two schools — Accountancy and Hotel and Tourism Management — and four departments — Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics, Finance, Management and Marketing. Established in Hong Kong in 1963, it is the first business school to offer BBA, MBA and Executive MBA programmes in the region. Today, the School offers 10 undergraduate programmes and 18 graduate programmes including MBA, EMBA, Master, MSc, MPhil and Ph.D.

In the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2021, CUHK MBA is ranked 48th. In FT‘s 2020 Executive MBA ranking, CUHK EMBA is ranked 15th in the world. CUHK Business School has the largest number of business alumni (40,000+) among universities/business schools in Hong Kong — many of whom are key business leaders. The School currently has more than 4,800 undergraduate and postgraduate students and Professor Lin Zhou is the Dean of CUHK Business School.

More information is available at or by connecting with CUHK Business School on:




WeChat: CUHKBusinessSchool

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ripple2wave Incubator launches Digital Water Hackathon: $250,000 R&D funds for startups with solutions to tackle Singapore water issues


SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 24 February 2021 Ripple2wave (R2WI), together with the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), is organizing its first Digital Water Hackathon to grow and nurture high potential startups in the area of water technology. Winners will receive prizes including S$50,000 Startup SG Founder Grant*, S$250,000 potential R&D funding, and up to S$6,000 Alibaba Cloud credits. Winning solutions will also have guidance to expand globally and get further exposure into the ecosystem. Registration at closes on 28 February 2021.

Singapore has set its sights on being self-sufficient in water by 2060, while water demand is expected to double in the same time frame. With current technical solutions, such as NEWater and desalination, only 85% of the demand would be met. Infrastructure investments, increasing operational costs required to maintain water systems, manpower constraints, and the impact of climate change are some of the related challenges Singapore’s water ecosystem is facing.

Given this situation, Singapore has invested heavily in becoming a Global HydroHub, continuously evaluating and embracing fresh ideas and perspectives to meet the future’s challenges.1

“The Digital Water Hackathon will contribute to these efforts (a) by raising awareness to the importance and challenges of water management and (b) by attracting talent developing digitally based ideas and solutions,” said Dr. Helge Daebel, Managing Director at ripple2wave, and added: “The digital space has proven to deliver solutions giving answer to the complexities of the water space. Singapore can leverage its reputation, collaborative ecosystem and talent to become a leader in the digital water space. We look forward to deploying our skills by creating, nurturing, and growing related startups.”

The Digital Water Hackathon will run from 6 March 2021 — 24 June 2021. Participants are provided with six problem statements from PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, Optiqua, ZWEEC Analytics and other major water players in the Singapore Ecosystem.

*Subject to Fulfilment of Startup SG Founder Eligibility Criteria


About the Digital Water Hackathon

The Digital Water Hackathon runs from 6 March 2021 — 24 June 2021. It provides participants with six problem statements from PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, Optiqua, ZWEEC Analytics and other major water player in the Singapore ecosystem.

Participants will be able to enter the hackathon under two main categories:

(1) Entry: first-time entrepreneurs looking to solve problems in the digital water sector whose solutions are at the conceptual stage and

(2) Advanced: local or international teams with existing solutions ready to be deployed.

The programme will include a one-week Bootcamp and a 3-month long deep mentoring sessions by experts and business mentors. Participants will get the opportunity to present their solutions at the Singapore International Water Week 2021 in June this year.

More information and details about the problem statements can be found at

About ripple2wave

Ripple2wave (R2WI) is a Singapore based incubator building emerging water technology leaders to serve global markets.

R2WI is a joint venture between VFT Ventures(Singapore) and Emerald Technology Ventures, a globally recognized Cleantech Investor with a twenty-year investment history. Part of this history has been a unique traction in the water space including successful exits to major industry players (SUEZ, XYLEM and BASF). Meanwhile, VFT successfully commercialised technologies from A*STAR through ZWEEC Analytics.

R2WI is supported by Enterprise Singapore and PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency to create a unique ecosystem for emerging water technology startups.

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PrimaDollar to focus on supply chain trade finance and larger clients, MODIFI acquires its SME export trade finance business


  • PrimaDollar today announces that its business will, from now on, be wholly focused around its increasingly successful supply chain trade finance technology platform.
  • MODIFI becomes the leading digital trade finance platform supporting SMEs globally.

MUMBAI, INDIA & AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – Media OutReach – 24 February 2021 – PrimaDollar has made the strategic decision to focus on its category-leading supply chain trade finance platform. This is an enterprise, SaaS, technology solution that enables large and mid-sized importers to take control over how their international suppliers are funded and paid. With the increasing success of this platform and focus on larger clients, PrimaDollar’s board has determined that its existing export customers, who are typically SMEs, will be better served by moving across to one of the dedicated export trade finance specialists operating with a similar geographic footprint. PrimaDollar selected MODIFI after a full market review.

The sale of PrimaDollar’s export trade finance business to MODIFI has now completed. The transaction only relates to future business, with PrimaDollar retaining its current outstanding trade finance book.

MODIFI provides trade finance to businesses across the world on a single digital platform. The company has offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, New Delhi, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Dubai. With digital onboarding and a paperless platform, customers can get working capital in a matter of days. MODIFI pays exporters’ outstanding invoices and covers the risk of buyer defaults.

Tim Nicolle, CEO of PrimaDollar, commented that “We believe that MODIFI is the international digital trade finance company best placed to ensure that our export finance customers across South and East Asia will continue to receive exemplary service and a reliable source of low-cost liquidity in support of their international trade. We continue to be excited by the enormous growth potential open to us in trade finance — potential that has increased substantially during the pandemic. We are expanding quickly and expect to be an ever-growing part of the trade finance landscape.”

Nelson Holzner, CEO and Co-Founder of MODIFI, commented “MODIFI is delighted to take on PrimaDollar’s export trade finance customers in a deal which is fully aligned with our mission to enable global trade. This is a significant milestone for MODIFI as it establishes us as the leading global digital trade finance platform supporting small and medium-sized exporters and importers. In the next few weeks we’ll be working hard to ensure a smooth transition and provide our new customers with excellent service to support their growth”.

About PrimaDollar

PrimaDollar is a UK-based fintech with offices across South and East Asia, focused on making international trade finance work more efficiently for importers and exporters. PrimaDollar’s category-leading technology platform enables larger and mid-sized importers to take control over how their international suppliers are funded and paid. Major importers around the world are moving onto the platform enabling their international suppliers to trade on open account but with a low-cost option to get paid at shipment. Processing trades across our platform typically saves importers up to 2% or more on landed costs compared to the alternatives of using a letter of credit or asking suppliers to accept long deferred payment terms.


MODIFI is solving global Trade Finance for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). Founded in 2018, MODIFI is tackling a $20 trillion industry in which 50% of requests for Trade Finance by SMEs are rejected by banks, resulting in a funding gap of $1.5 trillion annually. Through its paperless online platform, the company empowers businesses to grow, fostering strong international partnerships and benefitting local economies. To see how small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from MODIFI’s digital Trade Finance, visit or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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