This new approach to business succession and social enterprise development creates new approaches to sustainability and self-sufficiency for SPOs.
Small businesses play a significant role in local economies, particularly in smaller and rural communities. Research has determined that many smaller businesses are at risk of closing due to lack of succession. This can be particularly challenging in smaller communities which may rely on these businesses for access to vital goods or for community vitality.
Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs) are also facing funding shifts in recent times as traditional revenue models can no longer meet existing and growing needs, exacerbated by the pandemic. Many SPOs are turning to social enterprises to serve communities or develop new revenue streams, however such startups can take years to realize their financial returns.
The Business Legacies Incubator Project envisions a solution to these two challenges. It builds on two years of research to develop a business incubator designed to support non-profit organizations who wish to acquire profitable small businesses in their communities. The project will develop, provide and deliver the materials, resources and capacity-building enabling SPOs and small businesses to better understand the opportunity to transition business ownership to SPO ownership. Community-based businesses meeting the criteria for community acquisition will also be targeted and business profiles will be developed. Once the project is complete, these tools and materials will be incorporated into the region’s Community Futures programs and resources.