Canada’s small businesses are closing. This organization is working to save them — by turning them into social purpose businesses.

The Legacy Leadership Lab (L3) is building an acquisition ecosystem to help more social entrepreneurs buy small businesses

Why It Matters

It’s estimated that, even before COVID-19 struck, 700,000 small businesses in Canada were already at risk of closure in the next ten years, because they don’t have viable succession plans. And the pandemic made local business and community self-sufficiency even more urgent. Social acquisitions could be a big part of the solution.

This story is in partnership with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). 

In Courtenay, B.C., a candy shop that had long been a part of the fabric of the community was at risk of closing. The owners wanted to retire, had no successor lined up, and were looking to sell but weren’t finding a buyer who felt quite right.

The local community futures office, an organization that provides support to local businesses, saw an opportunity. They could save a business that was a longstanding institution in the community, generate revenue for themselves, and work toward one of the office’s economic development goals: to boost the economic inclusion of people with disabilities. They bought the business, and then immediately started implementing an employment plan where they prioritized hiring and training of people with disabilities. 

Meg Ronson said thi


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