Keenan Pascal ('08 BCom)

BAA Communications Committee Volunteer - 13 May 2022

Keenan Pascal (’08 BCom) left a career in financial services to co-found two complementary businesses — Token Bitters and Token Naturals. Though Keenan has dabbled in entrepreneurship for many years, his time at the Alberta School of Business opened networking opportunities that helped him further his career and entrepreneurial journey.


BAA: Tell us about your undergraduate experience at the Alberta School of Business. What are your favourite memories?

Keenan: My favourite memories come from the networking activities and the opportunities to expand my connections. Group projects, taking place in the intramurals, and just being generally active in the school’s ecosystem offered invaluable connections and great moments to remember.

BAA: How has your career developed from graduation through to today?

Keenan: After graduation I started my career in the finance industry, working for Scotiabank and then ATB. As I climbed the ladder in the banking industry, I decided that pursuing an MBA would help my career grow further. The MBA set me on the path towards my current entrepreneurial journey, as it’s where I met my co-founder and our early investors.

BAA: Tell us about your two businesses — Token Naturals and Token Bitters. Where did the idea for these businesses come from? What has it been like running two businesses simultaneously?

Keenan: Token Naturals is a cannabis manufacturing company based in Edmonton. We create our own cannabis lines for consumers, and we offer B2B services such as contract manufacturing, packaging and labelling. When Token began, we were aiming to be a cannabis beverage brand. That idea was born from a group project during my MBA. As it often goes with start-ups, we’ve evolved into a much larger operation. However, when we started Token Naturals, we were tight financially and the regulations were rapidly changing. We knew it was going to be a long haul before we had revenue. That’s how Token Bitters was born — as a proof of concept for Token Naturals, showing we could generate revenue and bring high-quality products to market. We chose bitters because it is the same mechanism — extracting essences from plants — and gave us experience in flavour development, product creation and supply chains. Now Token Bitters is a standalone business as we shifted our focus back to cannabis and navigating the heavily regulated space.

BAA: Did you always see yourself as an entrepreneur? What was the leap from financial services into entrepreneurship like?

Keenan: I always dabbled in entrepreneurship, be that a painting company in the summers between school or an events production business on the weekends. The leap from financial services was smooth as my time in the financial services gave me a strong foundation for the next step.

BAA: You've supported diversity in Edmonton's business community and the cannabis industry both through your own business' policies and work with capacity-building programs such as Foundations for Black Founders. What advice do you have for Black entrepreneurs, or those considering entrepreneurship?

Keenan: My biggest piece of advice would be: don’t be afraid to ask for help. It isn't a journey you have to do by yourself and there are a lot of resources and tools for people who are willing to put themselves out there. 

BAA: Where can alumni learn more about Token Bitters or Token Naturals and try out your products?

Keenan: and our social media (@tokennaturals and @tokenbitters respectively). Token Bitters can be purchased on our website and Token Naturals cannabis products will be in Alberta’s cannabis retailers in late May.

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