Co-op model keeps businesses alive when boomers cash out

Categories: Big picture
Published on: November 30, 2015

Globe and Mail / Richard Blackwell / 30 November 2015

Aron TheatreAs hundreds of thousands of baby-boomers prepare to retire from the small businesses they own, most will overlook one succession option; converting their enterprise into a co-operative.

Many boomer-owners ponder transferring their companies to their children, or selling to a senior manager in the firm. Others are looking to outside buyers or even private equity investors. But transforming into a co-op – owned by the company’s employees or even by its customers – can be an effective alternative, argues Peter Cameron, development manager at the Ontario Co-operative Association, an organization that promotes the formation of co-ops.

Unfortunately, the co-operative model is poorly understood, usually overlooked, and is completely neglected in most MBA programs, so it is not often considered as an option, he said. “The issue is just lack of awareness.”

[ TB: Co-op specialist Russ Christianson was our guest speaker in June 2012. ]