Business Conversions to Social Purpose Enterprises – for Equity-Deserving Groups*

Business Conversions to Social Purpose Enterprises – for Equity-Deserving Groups*

  • Are you a business owner thinking of selling?
  • Are you interested in collectively buying a business along with others?  
  • Are you part of an Equity-Deserving Group?  
  • Come to this session to find out more!


:    Wednesday, November 16th, 7 – 8:30 pm

WhereYWCA Hotel, 733 Beatty St., Vancouver, BC, Canfor-Royal Bank Room (in-person)


  • Daphane Nelson, CoActive Developments Worker Co-op, and
  • Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, Black Women Professional Worker Co-op

Facilitated by: Janielle Maxwell, CWCF’s JEDI Social Acquisition Project Coordinator


This session will cover the context and types of Social Purpose Organizations as well as explore the possibility that Equity-Seeking Groups might feel alignment with the structure of Social Purpose Organizations,
as they differ from traditional business models that have often underserved and under-represented them.  We will also explore how transitioning to co-operatives, B-Corps, and Social Enterprises could be the right fit. There will be broad discussion about whether and how to transition to a Social Purpose Organization (SPO), the benefits of transitioning, and sources of support. Additionally, we will hear from an existing SPO about their challenges and successes.  Questions are encouraged throughout the presentation.



The small business succession challenge in Canada is well known, and often business owners and their communities struggle to manage ownership exits gracefully. When the owner of a business is ready to retire or sell, a timely succession is necessary for business survival.  

In addition, with the pandemic having affected nearly every small business across the country, more business owners than ever must make tough choices about the survival and sustainability of their enterprise. 

The challenges are even greater for businesses led by and/or serving equity-deserving groups, as they often face issues of ‘renoviction’, lack of access to capital, etc. Yet there is also great potential, as these businesses that are essential parts of their local communities can be converted from their traditional structure to social purpose or co-operative enterprises to help continue their legacy. 

Social purpose organizations (SPOs) such as Co-ops, B-Corps and Social Enterprises (SEs) have different value systems embedded into their governance and therefore operations.  A SPO can be created when employees, communities, and/or other stakeholders buy the business collectively.  

*by Equity-Deserving Groups, we include BIPOC people, people with disabilities, women, LQBTQ+, and youth. 



This workshop is supported by the federal Investment Readiness Program.  Funded by the Government of Canada, the
Investment Readiness Program (IRP)  supports social purpose organizations as they contribute to solving pressing social, cultural and environmental challenges across Canada. 




Daphane Nelson

Ms. Nelson’s small-town roots brought her to Kamloops to pursue a business degree at Thompson Rivers University.  Since graduation she has held a range of positions in the financial sector, managed a law firm, contracts with Community Futures Development Corporation, and recently won a third term as a director with a local credit union. During the onboarding process with that organization, she became enamored with the cooperative model and pursued designations with both Coop Zone and Governance Professionals of Canada, determined to bring the co-operative model to the BC Interior. 

Looking at business succession through the cooperative lens is a model that Daphane has spent several years considering. She now plans to pursue it fully with her involvement in CoActive Developments Worker Co-op. Daphane recently assisted with the development of a cooperative with members from both the BIPOC and LGBTQ2+ communities, and has been on an insightful journey about Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, in the context of her work with the credit union and other business activities.


Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido

Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, MBA, is a co-founder of the Black Women Professional Worker Cooperative. She is a Strategist & Visionary of the  ‘F.L.O.W initiative: Financial Literacy & Opportunities for Women’, which is a syndicated invite-only series of experiential sessions, retreats, and podcasts for women entrepreneurs. She is a passionate social justice advocate for Gender Equity, Quality Public School Education, Financial Literacy & Empowerment programs, especially in the delivery of certification trainings, seminars and workshops on Self-leadership, Transformational Leadership, Community Development & Wealth creation.

Ms. Kego Ume-Onyido is also a dynamic speaker and trainer on Social Enterprise, Transformational Leadership, and results-based coaching; with a focus on empowering rural women to build sustainable and resilient cooperatives and communities. Further, she is a Strategic Interventionist, delivering experiential workshops for Women Professionals and Entrepreneurs on Work-Life Choices, and how to achieve excellence and success in the new empathy-driven, data-value-based economy. Author of upcoming books: “UN-Locking Your HeArt of Leadership”; Collections of Short Stories and Poems: “Conversations With An Amichi GrandMother” & “Today, I Will Not Bow.” She is a Sun Life financial Advisor.


Janielle Maxwell

I have recently joined the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation as the Project Coordinator for the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Social Acquisition Project. I am happy to be in a position where I can help improve access to viable, long-term business solutions for equity-seeking groups. This will not only help increase capital and economic stability in these communities, but contribute to solving the multi-factorial business succession dilemma Canada currently faces.

As a Black woman of colour who grew up amongst other equity-seeking groups (other racialized individuals, people with disabilities, LGBTQx+, etc.), I am well aware of the inequities and barriers marginalized people face in social, academic, and professional spaces. Due to personal experience with all of the aforementioned contexts, I have developed a strong passion for true advocacy that catalyzes measurable change for the systematically underserved, under-represented, and under-credited. 

I am currently completing my MSc in Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph, with a One Health Specialization. I am hopeful that sessions like these will strengthen the network of those committed to equity and diversity in the business space.


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