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The cooperative option for ensuring your business continues

A business transfer is a painstaking process that can last 2 to 5 years or sometimes more. Entrepreneurs who are planning to hand over control of their businesses in the coming years have a number of options. Have you thought of the cooperative model as a way to ensure your business continues?

Transferring a business is a demanding process that can last 2 to 5 years or more. There are a number of options for entrepreneurs who are planning to hand over control of their businesses in the coming years. Have you thought of the cooperative model as a way to ensure your business continues?

For more information, see What is a cooperative and how do I create one?

Why should I choose the cooperative option?

To guarantee your business's future

The cooperative formula keeps teams together, preventing a loss of expertise. The transition occurs smoothly for customers and suppliers, which keep the same contacts within the business. The transfer takes place through a cooperative purchase of shares, and the business keeps its legal status, identity and history. The business also keeps its usual partners, such as bankers, consultants, suppliers and customers. With the cooperative option, you can remain active in your company longer with the peace of mind that comes from knowing the business you created will operate long into the future.

A cooperative business proves its worth on a number of levels. For example, the survival rate for the cooperative formula is 2 times higher than that of other types of businesses. In fact, 4 out of 10 cooperatives reach their tenth anniversary compared with 2 out of every 10 businesses in all of Quebec. The formula is also known for its stability when markets are volatile because of its structure (democratic, deep roots in the community, etc.) and other features.

To save the jobs you created and motivate your employees

The cooperative option prevents layoffs and sales of departments or business units. Offshoring is also avoided since the business is transferred wholly or partially to employees through the cooperative business model chosen.

Your buyer-employees share your vision and will be extremely motivated to continue the adventure. You know them better than anyone else because you hired them. They know the business inside and out and are already operational. Numerous entrepreneurs who have tried cooperatives agree that their business's productivity and competitiveness have improved and that absenteeism has decreased.

To have a model that can be customized to your situation and to access specialized support services

A major advantage of the cooperative formula is the ability to adapt to business and market circumstances. Depending on your industry and goals, you can choose from 5 cooperative business models (worker, employee-shareholder, producer, consumer or solidarity cooperative). A number of experts, such as Groupe Coop Relève, regional development cooperatives and industry federations, can help and support you as you choose the right formula for your business and go through the transfer.

Numerous financial tools (equity loans, financing, etc.) are available specifically for cooperatives. Desjardins also offers support and assistance services and easy access to financing through Desjardins Venture Capital, the Alliance Coopération fund and Fonds Relève Québec.

To make your actions even more meaningful

Deciding on the cooperative option when transferring your business involves much more than a simple financial transaction; it's a reaffirmation of the values you've no doubt championed for a long time. Society as a whole benefits from cooperatives because they are an effective tool for bridging the divide between 2 generations of entrepreneurs, and they help maintain entrepreneurial heritage and an entire network of suppliers that gravitate to these types of business.

You worked hard to make your business what it is today. You have surrounded yourself with qualified people you trust, and you have believed in your partners' and employees' talents. The cooperative formula gives you the opportunity of seeing your work continue, as you would do it, and with the same passionate people you have always trusted. You, in turn, are giving them the chance to own a business they believe in. Choosing the cooperative option for your business guarantees you a socially responsible transfer with a human touch that promotes the continuity of the project you have spent so many years building.


  1. Antonio Drouin(in French only) (1 min 25 s)
  2. Anne-Marie Chagnon(in French only) (2 min 18 s)
  3. François Mainguy (in French only) (1 min 42 s)