Private businesses can be converted into co-ops ⁠— with enough support

Research into Canadian co-op conversions shows clear promise for private business owners looking to sell

Why It Matters

Ninety-eight per cent of Canadian businesses have fewer than 100 employees, making them ideal candidates for co-operative models. But entrepreneurs who’ve made the leap to collective ownership say more support and education is needed.

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Cora Wiens couldn’t have done it alone.

The founder of Eadha, an all-sourdough bakery in Winnipeg, wanted the private business to become a co-operative. In her twenties, Wiens worked at a well-known co-op café and activist hotspot called Mondragon; a collective that gave her a voice in business decisions and the confidence to found an explicitly anti-oppressive, LGBTQ+-led business of her own in 2018.

But Wiens wanted to go farther. She wanted to transform the bakery into a co-operative and give her employees the same agency over business

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