Business Conversions to Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs) Webinar

February 9th, 2023



Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, Black Women’s Professional Worker Co-op

Daphane Nelson, CoActive Developments

Mohammed Zaquot, Lightwork Consulting

Facilitated and moderated by: Janielle Maxwell- JEDDI Business Conversion Project Coordinator

Event Description

This webinar targets members of equity-denied groups (“EDGs”, including women, BIPOC and other racialized communities, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, and youth) who are interested in the business conversion process.

The session will provide participants with background information on the context and types of Social Purpose Organizations as well as explore the possibility that Equity-Denied Groups might feel alignment with the structure of Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs), as they differ from traditional business models that have often underserved and under-represented them.

We will also explore how transitioning to SPOs such as co-operatives, B-Corps, and Social Enterprises could be the right fit. There will be general discussion on how to transition to a SPO, the benefits of transitioning, sources of support, and how this model benefits and can appeal to EDGs. Additionally, we will hear from an existing SPO about their challenges and successes.  Questions are encouraged throughout the Question, Answer, and Comment period.


Background Information

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-denied 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. An SPO can be created when employees, communities, and/or other stakeholders buy the business collectively. 



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