Sponsored by Community Futures Manitoba
In 2017, SuccessionMatching worked closely with an Indigenous entrepreneur from Saskatchewan who had a very specific plan for the future of his successful cabinet-making business. He was ready to retire and sell his business, but he wished to sell it to someone within the local Indigenous community. He said that he was fortunate enough to have had many great mentors over the years and he wanted to pass along his knowledge to the next generation of entrepreneurs. His story is not unique.
Business succession is a major problem among all communities across Canada. Our population is aging, and many small business owners are interested in retiring and exiting their businesses. Individuals work hard to create and grow a business that is their livelihood, and they don’t want to see that legacy die when it is time for them to move on.
The looming “grey tsunami” of retiring business owners presents a tremendous opportunity for Indigenous entrepreneurs to become business owners while bypassing the risk and uncertainty associated with start-ups.
Starting a business is inherently risky—approximately 20 per cent of new businesses fail in their first year, and that number balloons to 60 per cent after three years.
“That is why we have made it our mission to change the way people get into business,” said Alison Anderson, CEO and founder of SuccessionMatching. This organization is a two-sided marketplace designed to help buyers find businesses to buy and give business owners a place they can sell their businesses.
“We want entrepreneurs to see the potential that is right in front of them, rather than fall into the high-risk trap of starting their own business,” explained Anderson. “We think that buying a business is a great way to flex the entrepreneurial muscle with far less risk. Additionally, preserving local businesses through changes in ownership helps local economic health.”
In the past, Indigenous entrepreneurs who wished to pass their businesses on in their own communities faced extra challenges due to barriers to asset-based lending on reserve and a lack of potential new entrepreneurs in their communities who could take their place.
But times are changing. Indigenous entrepreneurs have become Canada’s fastest-growing segment of business owners, with the number of self-employed Indigenous peoples recently increasing at five times the rate of non-Indigenous self-employed. They have been assisted by organizations like Community Futures (CF) and their Indigenous Business Development Services (IBDS) program. The CF program provides financing exclusively to entrepreneurs in rural, remote, Northern and First Nations communities, while IBDS helps Indigenous entrepreneurs in Manitoba and Saskatchewan access training and supports.
“Indigenous entrepreneurs are becoming a force to be reckoned with in our economy,” said Raena Baker, IBDS program coordinator with Community Futures Manitoba. “We’re happy to work with SuccessionMatching to provide [people] with another option to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.”
SuccessionMatching can help entrepreneurs build a succession plan, connect with succession planning professionals, and match with the best possible buyer (or seller) for their needs.
To learn more about their services, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an entrepreneur looking to start or purchase a business in rural or Northern Manitoba or Saskatchewan, visit cfmanitoba.ca or cfsask.ca for more information.