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Business succession through transition to worker cooperatives

Business Succession Planning

Your friends are at the lake…they retired! You’re still running your business, your legacy. Employees, customers and the community depend on your business and you are ready for the next stage of life.

Planning the next phase of your business’ life cycle, without you at the helm might be daunting. We are here to help you navigate the waters of succession planning.

What is CoActive?

CoActive bridges the gap of succession planning by developing Employee-Owned Businesses. We help you retire by selling your business to your employees.

Develop a Co-op

Got 3 Friends?

It’s difficult to explain in a short paragraph about why we are asking you to become passionate about cooperatively owned businesses, but at CoActive we experience flexibility, democracy and shared values as a worker-owned business because those principles are baked into the way we do business. 

We challenge you to explore opportunities with folks you know and trust who also have complimentary skills that will help set your business apart from others in the industry. Whether you decide to build something new from the ground up, or, set your sights on an existing business for sale within your community, CoActive is ready to support your transition and growth.

Develop a co-op

What do we do?

Cooperative development IS business development. CoActive’s services will help you get your cooperative business off on the right track.

Stages of a Business to Cooperative Conversion (BCC)

There are several steps to this initial phase. We determine whether the business is a good fit for employee-ownership, are the workers interested in entrepreneurship, is the business financially viable?

This is where we leverage our networks and expertise to help secure buyout financing. We analyze and recommend appropriate financing options and capital management. If there is a long enough runway to retirement, perhaps explore Employee Share Ownership Plans or Employee-Owned Trusts? 

This phase plans the balance between cooperative governance and business operations and helps prepare for the transition to an employee-owned business. We provide cooperative and business development training to help shift employee mindset to entrepreneurism. 

This is where we help incorporate the cooperative, recommending legal and accounting advice where needed as balance sheet and capital planning are imperative to begin at the outset. We also encourage the solidarity movement and marketing the “Cooperative Advantage” from day one.

You are not alone! We will support your first Board meetings, the Annual General Meeting and provide cooperative governance training and help you attract and educate new members.

Who is CoActive?

CoActive was formed to bring a different solution to the obstacle of business owner retirement by creating opportunities for Employee-Owned Businesses to form and flourish under a collective approach to entrepreneurship. These business succession gaps are well documented and much research has been developed around Employee-Ownership in Canada. CoActive provides this service offering to bridge the gap between business and co-operative development in BC.

Daphane Nelson
Daphane Nelson
Cooperative Developer
Daphane Nelson (she/her) is grateful to live in unceded Secwepemcúl’ecw, the land providing her family with nourishment, livelihood, and recreation in Kamloops, BC. Daphane has close to twenty years’ experience advising businesses as a lender, administrator, and most recently, small business and co-operative developer with CoActive Developments Worker Co-op and the Union Cooperative Initiative. Daphane is also a CCUA accredited Credit Union director and completed the Governance Professionals of Canada designation in 2021. Her board and committee experience spans the past two decades with many grassroots organizations including the Kamloops Food Policy Council, Art’s Council, Community Futures, and most recently an appointment to the CoopZone board. She was elected to the Interior Savings Board of Directors in 2016 where she discovered her passion for the cooperative model and seeks to support co-operative development in the BC Interior.
Marty Frost
Marty Frost
Cooperative Developer
Marty Frost (he/him) now makes his home on the unceded traditional territory of the Squamish, Tsleil Waututh, and Musqueam people, having moved from the Maritimes some 35 years ago. Since that time Marty has been engaged with the cooperative and non-profit world, in the area of enterprise development - as an employee and as a contracted developer. In that time Marty has helped to launch roughly 55 Social Enterprises, and has supported the development of further 170. These projects were primarily cooperative enterprises, and of those, primarily worker cooperatives. The remaining few were charity-based and not-for-profit enterprises. During that time, Marty also served on boards of directors for The Canadian Worker Co-op Federation, The Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada, the Canadian Cooperative Association, the BC Cooperative Association, CoopZone Cooperative Developers, CCEC Credit Union, and a number of other cooperatives and Non-Profit Societies, primarily in BC. Much of Marty's spare time is devoted to his passion for football (soccer), and for his children and grandchildren
Chris Galloway
Chris Galloway
Cooperative Developer
Chris is a passionate co-operator who is currently an independent consultant who specializes in working with credit unions and cooperatives. Chris has a background in finance and worked in the financial cooperative sector in Canada for over ten years. Heand he fully realized the power of cooperatives while representing the Canadian credit union system in Mongolia in 2012 and Malawi in 2015 as part of the Canadian Cooperative Association’s credit union coaching program. He believes that growing the cooperative movement is one of the keys to the sustainability of communities and has been actively involved in providing cooperative development services for almost four years. He previously served on the Board of the East End Food Cooperative in Vancouver, and the Board of Cooperatives First, a business development organization focused on increasing awareness and understanding of the co-op business model in rural and Indigenous communities across western Canada. Chris graduated in 2017 from St Mary’s University with a Masters of Management: Cooperatives and Credit Unions.

CoActive Partnerships

CoActive Developments Worker Co-op is a proud member of the Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation, the BC Co-op Association and works closely with many other partners within the Canadian cooperative and business development ecosystem.

The UCI is building an economy that works for all by supporting development, incubation, and operation of unionized co-ops. Our network provides community-sustaining jobs that are good for people and the planet.

A just and humane world starts with dismantling the inequitable practices that history designed and Louder Than Ten is here to make the future of organizations that embrace project management go up to eleven.

GIA was founded to serve new and established cooperatives by providing support for operations and governance that is grounded in the cooperative principles and values.

The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation is a national, bilingual grassroots membership organization of and for worker co-operatives, related types of co-operatives, and organizations that support the growth and development of worker co-operatives.

The BC Co-op Association (BCCA) is the knowledge and resource centre for co-operatives in BC, where co-ops and credit unions come together to collaborate, network, get support, learn, and contribute knowledge to shape BC’s co-op movement.

Co-operators is a leading all-Canadian financial services co-operative helping Canadians build and grow their financial strength and security.  They offer multi-line insurance and investment products, services, and advice that’s personalized to your needs.

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