CWCF’s JEDDI Business Conversion Project for Equity-Denied Groups

The Future of Ethical Business is Here and CWCF is Ready!

Did you know that on April 18th 2023, the United Nations (UN) adopted a resolution on the Social and Solidarity Economy, recognizing the role of socially impactful businesses in creating a more sustainable and inclusive economy? This type of economy is centered on mutual aid, voluntary corporation, democratic and/or participatory governance, and autonomy and independence. The Social and Solidarity Economy prioritizes the well-being of people and our planet over profit and is a just alternative to extractive and exploitative capitalist endavours. Some main solidarity economy contributors include Co-operatives, mutual societies, Social Purpose Organizations/ Social Enterprises, voluntary groups, and non-profit organizations. Previously, the UN has passed resolutions recognizing the role of social entrepreneurship and Co-operatives in social development and transformation, and poverty alleviation. The CWCF supports this global shift toward Social Finance and Solidarity Economics. Our latest project on this front, is the JEDDI Social Acquisition project.

With the support of the Government of Canada’s Investment Readiness Program, CWCF has launched the ‘Justice, Equity, Diversity, Decolonization and Inclusion (JEDDI) Business Conversion Project’

This project is mainly an outreach, awareness, and support oriented initiative that aims to focus on members of Equity-Denied Groups (EDGs*) who are current business owners, thinking of purchasing a business, and/or simply interested in business conversions to Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs). Recognizing that there is a lack of engagement from EDGs within the co-operative/SPO sector, this project seeks to connect with these communities and the business owners therein, to help facilitate conversions from traditional businesses to SPOs, to improve access to and knowledge of conversion resources, and to develop a shared toolkit and ecosystem for SPO/co-op sustainability.

The project offers both educational and financial support for individuals, and will also seek to connect those pursuing conversions to service providers and experts (i.e. co-op developers, accountants etc.) who are essential parts of a successful conversion. We will also provide early stage consultations to those pursuing the process. The overarching goals are to help make business conversions to SPOs more feasible for EDGs and to raise awareness of the collective power within this model.

 For more information on grants and funding, how a business conversion works, types of co-ops/SPOs, how conversions to SPOs can strengthen the Canadian economy, educational courses the CWCF offers, the importance of integrating more EDGs in this work and much more, please navigate our JEDDI web pages on this website. If you have navigated our web pages and feel you have a question or theme that was not addressed, please reach out to who will be happy to answer you.

For our purposes, the term ‘ Business Conversion’ is synonymous with ‘Social Acquisition’, which refers to the conversion of a traditionally operated business to a Social Purpose Organization (SPO) such as a social enterprise, co-op, B-corp, etc.

*Equity-denied groups include but are not limited to members of BIPOC communities, LGBTQ2S+ people, people with disabilities, women, and youth.

L3’s Social Acquisition Primer >>

The project focuses on business transformations to SPOs that reflect the principles of JEDDI. SPOs have different value systems that inform their governance and thus operations. This enables selling owners and purchasing owners (employees, communities, and other stakeholders) to create more socially impactful enterprises. Since many businesses do not start out as SPOs, a business conversion process is necessary for those who wish to transition.

Project Timeline

This project began in September 2022 and is on track for completion by the end of March 2024. Being an 18 month initiative, the project outputs have been divided into Months 1-3, Months 4-8, and Months 9-18. See below for a timeline of events, which highlights key activities and initiatives throughout the duration of the project.


Months 1-3: Background Information and Research

  • Served as time allotted to knowledge acquisition. This included sourcing reliable materials on Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs), the need for them in the Canadian context, and examples of such organizations.
  • During this time we also gathered information on the experiences of members of Equity-Denied Groups (EDGs) in the business investment space; which showcased that the impacts of COVID-19 and financial instability have disproportionate impacts on business owners from EDGs. At this intersection of need and opportunity, SPOs remain a crucial tool for catalyzing sustainable change in these communities.
  • A Communications & Marketing plan was developed which details the channels to be used for dissemination of materials and information.
  • Lastly, we prepared and presented a session on ‘Business Conversions for Equity-Denied Groups’ as a pre-conference workshop, which educated on SPOs and how modern-day Social Enterprise/SPO models stem from economic paradigms that have been practiced by BIPOC groups for hundreds of years.


Months 4-8: Outreach and Communication

  • Develop online one-pagers on SPOs; this includes worker co-ops, consumer co-ops, social enterprises and relevant examples. These one-pagers also detail general steps an individual may consider for converting their traditional business to a SPO, as well as case studies of successful conversions that highlight EDGs.
  • Create a brochure and posters that contain tips for business conversion from both the buyer and seller perspectives.
  • Conduct an environmental scan on business conversion service providers and disseminate this information such that it is easily accessible to those who need it.
  • Plan and facilitate an online session on ‘Business Conversions for Equity-Denied Groups’ which will educate on SPOs and their connections to Equity-Denied Groups.
  • Develop an Evaluation Framework.
  • Recruit & hire intern(s).


Months 9-18: Create a Basis for the Eco-system of Future Business Conversions

  • Establish an online forum for those pursuing Business Conversions where individuals may submit requests for assistance throughout their conversion process.
  • Design and deliver one peer-learning session for the SPO/SME service providers to increase their awareness of and capacity to support social acquisition cases.
  • Partner with colleges and/or universities to offer consultations with experts, which will help mold the long term trajectory of the business in question.
  • Facilitate sessions where those pursuing conversions or interested in the process, may network, collaborate, and receive input from service providers.


For more information on business conversions to SPOs:

Business Conversions

Conversion Case Studies

How a Business Conversion works


Contact Information

 For questions and inquiries regarding this project, please contact:

Janielle Maxwell, JEDDI Business Conversion Project Coordinator

Brampton, Ontario


JEDDI Business Conversion Events

Past Event: CWCF Pre-Conference Session November 15, 2022

Past Event: CWCF Conference Keynote November 17, 2022

Upcoming Event: Business Conversions for Equity-Denied Groups February 9, 2023


Find out:

What is a Social Purpose Organization? 

What is a Social Enterprise? 

What are some examples of business conversions/social acquisitions? 

How does a business conversion work? 

CWCF’s JEDDI Business Conversions Project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Investment Readiness Program