Supporting Small Business Succession Through Acquisition in Nanaimo

Jolynn Green, Executive Director Community Futures Central Island

“Our Community Futures office has worked with Scale Collaborative a good deal this past few years and with their newest programming – the Business Legacies Initiative. We really enjoyed this training as it is an opportunity for non-profits to look at how they can be more resilient, diversify their revenue streams through social enterprise and how to purchase an existing going concern business that can complement or support your organization’s mission and mandate.  

Business Legacies Initiative is an excellent program.  With eight modules of training, topics covered were understanding risk, building an acquisition roadmap, finding a business that meets your objectives, business finances and securing financing, buying the business and all that is entailed from legal to governance and then transitioning to a social enterprise.   

We looked at how this might manifest from a business succession perspective and a Community Futures perspective – how could we support small business succession and social enterprise through non-profit acquisitions.  By exploring our initial concept of a commissary kitchen project, for example, we had to consider what types of activities could help develop the kitchen and add income generation. What current business operations in the food sector were for sale and would complement and add capacity to our kitchen?  While this project didn’t come to fruition, it was a working lab experiment on how to do this type of innovative social enterprise, especially today with labour shortages, rising operating costs, carbon footprints and the evolution of companies like Skip the Dishes or Door Dash.  

Having a commissary kitchen that is open 24/7, alongside complementary activities that we could offer such as business advisory services, coaching, access to capital to scale; it was a way to fully optimize the space to its capacity while commercializing/optimizing the local retail food sector.  

Scale’s program offers a whole new way to think about our business legacy, especially for us, as food is not the area where Community Futures normally works – which raises the question of whether you have to buy and operate a business that is like us or one that supports your bottom line and supports programming?”  


The Business Legacies Incubator program creates opportunities for small businesses that are for sale, or at risk of closure, to be acquired and converted into social enterprises, keeping employment, business, and non-profits in smaller and rural communities. Island Coastal Economic Trust invested $47,500 in Scale Collaborative for the start-up of the initiative in 2021. Learn more: Business Legacies Incubator