Daphane Nelson, Director, CoActive Developments
January 13, 2023
About a year ago, a group found themselves having the same conversations about business conversion to employee-owned businesses. Each came at it from a different perspective, but all wanted to bridge the gap between the knowledge in the business development and cooperative sectors. After months of meetings theorizing about the topic, a smaller group broke away, calling themselves the Get Shit Done Consultancy as an homage to their desire to actively seek this as a business opportunity.
The business plan was penned a pilot project imagined. And while the group wanted to continue as the GSD Group, the name CoActive was born out of a combination of the word cooperative and being active about the work they wanted to explore. Or similar to a peloton, where the group moves forward toward the betterment of the team.
Who are these folks? You’ll find their bios on the About Us page, but maybe a bit of detail about how they met and decided to work together. Marty Frost, or The Godfather of cooperatives in BC, has been a cooperative developer for over 40 years and knows his way around a cooperative. His experience and knowledge of the sector have made it possible for this group to dream big with solid footing.
Chris Galloway has spent a number of years working with credit unions, which, for knowledge sake, are financial cooperatives. Chris spent time in Mongolia Malawi on a credit union coaching tour which really sparked his passion for how cooperatives can positively impact people’s lives in their communities. His financial expertise combined with the relationships he has with credit unions bring the lens of financial assistance and deal structure to this group.
Daphane Nelson has worked in business development and has ties to the many non profit business development agencies throughout BC. She saw the potential of this opportunity through one of the Community Futures programs , the BC Business Sale and the ensuing Venture Connect program which seeks to connect business owners with business buyers through an online portal.
Through their many conversations this trio acknowledged and became aware of the research that had already been developed around business succession planning issues in BC, across Canada and really anywhere else in the world. The Baby Boom generation is set to retire, with many already realizing this North American dream. It has been estimated that only about 10% of business owners have a succession plan in pace which leaves the business, employees and customers in a precarious situation. This solution is fairly straightforward. The employees who have been undertaking the work necessary to keep the business rolling throughout the years would become uptrained in the manners of business ownership. And in order to purchase the business from the existing ownership group, democratic cooperative governance. This mode isn’t without it’s own issues and is not intended for a quick turnover, rather, the process does take time and all parties must be posed and ready to dig in and work hard to make this work.
At the end of the day, not all businesses are a fit for the cooperative model, which is why CoActive is prepared to conduct 10-12 feasibility analyses over the next 12-18 months at little or no cost to the potential group. They hope that by screening applicants they would have at least a 75% continuation rate through the next stages of the transition process. By the end of the pilot project, CoActive will have compiled several case studies for analysis and sharing to other agencies for the sole purpose of cooperating amongst cooperatives, one of the seven cooperative principles.
For more information about CoActive Developments Worker Co-op please visit the website and feel free to contact CoActive through the contact form or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org