One of Canada’s fastest-growing family businesses is becoming employee-owned. Here’s why that could be a major trend post-pandemic

Small business succession plans through a social impact lens

Why It Matters

Seventy-two percent of Canadian small business owners are planning to exit their businesses in the next 10 years, and the economic chaos of COVID-19 is bringing the resilience of those businesses into even sharper focus. Advocates say this is an opportunity to transition these community businesses into social enterprises or community-owned cooperatives, which could mean a huge boost for recovery.

Sixteen years ago, Steve Beauchesne was helping his father Tim think of a business idea. After a career in textiles, which was increasingly moving overseas, Tim wanted something new. Mulling it over with a pint of beer in hand, the pair settled on an idea: a brewery.

“If you’re serious about this, Dad, I’ll sell my house and move home and I’ll start a brewery with you,” Beauchesne recalls saying. “The next day we sobered up and it still seemed like a good idea, and we started working on it.”

The pair founded Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in 2006 in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. Since then, the brewery has grown rapidly year on year, eventually employing around 150 full-time staff. It also became Canada’s first ever brewery to achieve B Corp status, a certification recognizing businesses that are socially and environmentally responsible.

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