Business Succession: An Opportunity to Cooperate


  • Claude-André Guillotte IRECUS/Université de Sherbrooke
  • Anne-Marie Merrien IRECUS/Université de Sherbrooke
  • Josée Charbonneau IRECUS/Université de Sherbrook
  • Étienne Fouquet IRECUS/Université de Sherbrooke



Business succession; Cooperative conversion / Reprise d’entreprises; Conversion en coopérative


A vast proportion of Quebec’s economic fabric is made up of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Recent studies underline the importance of ensuring the succession of these SMEs for the coming years. The collective option of co- operative takeover makes it possible to maintain the activities of these companies and to save the jobs they provide by selling the companies to employees or members of the community through conversion into cooperatives. However, this option has been largely neglected, which constitutes a missed opportunity for communities. Since 1980, 106 cooperatives have taken over a business in Quebec to ensure its continuity under this new status. The data show that, as of July 1, 2021, 96% of the cooperatives affected by these takeovers since 1980 were still in operation. This sustainability, including the maintenance of jobs and local economic activity, constitutes an argument in favour of exploring the cooperative model as an avenue for business takeovers.



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Perspectives for the Field