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Small businesses (SMEs) play a significant economic role in Canada and employ many people. In fact, 99.8 percent of the businesses in Canada are considered SMEs and 9 out 10 private sector jobs are provided by SMEs. But a large portion of SME owners in Canada plan to retire over the next few years, and, unfortunately, most do not have a succession plan in place. As a result, many of these owners may sell off assets or abandon the business. With multiple commercial entities about to change hands or close, the impact on the economy and communities through lost amenities and jobs across the country could be substantial. This has also been compounded by the many challenges to small businesses brought on by the pandemic.

To combat a wave of possible business closures, policymakers, retiring business owners, and business transition professionals should explore all available options when planning for succession or sale of the business or its assets. However, policymakers, owners, and professionals often overlook a viable and valuable choice: a transition to a co-operative.

The research and resources on this site are a first step in solving that challenge, and are designed to help business owners, policymakers, business transition professionals, and researchers explore and better understand this unique option.

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