Pilot project opens doors for entrepreneurs

Small business succession is consistently identified as a key issue during small business roundtable consultations in B.C.

Without a succession plan, small business owners can lose return on their investment and leave the communities where they operate without the services and jobs they depend on.

For Island coastal communities, a new pilot project will help keep established businesses and the jobs they create by assisting business owners in passing on their success to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Exit Opportunities, a new small business succession pilot project, will link interested business purchasers to small business owners who are in the process of, or thinking about, exiting their business.

The one-year project is a partnership between the province, Island Coastal Economic Trust and Island Coastal Community Futures, which will deliver the project while serving central and northern Vancouver Island, Powell River, the Sunshine Coast and Howe Sound.

The project will include training and services related to purchasing an existing business and would link Self Employment Program participants to small business owners who wish to sell their business.

Other potential purchasers will be offered similar training, and small business owners will be offered support and training to ensure their businesses are transition-ready.

Ron Cantelon,   Parksville-Qualicum MLA said the program prepare new owners with business knowledge so they can effectively apply their energy and enthusiasm to renewing local enterprises.

“When a small business disappears, a part of the community dies with it,” he said. “This program will enable owners to pass the torch to a new, locally-based owner.”

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