Rob Brown from CDI receiving the check from Bangor Savings Bank at Rock City Coffee in Rockland.

The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation has awarded CDI’s Business Ownership Solutions program $5,000 to support educational business succession trainings in Mid-coast Maine!

The Cooperative Development Institute is excited to announce a $5,000 grant award from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation to build a partnership in Maine’s Mid-coast region that can assist small business owners in developing succession plans that will sustain their business after retirement, improve the quantity and quality of jobs through employee ownership conversion, and provide workers with the training needed to be successful entrepreneurs.

The grant will support CDI’s Business Ownership Solutions program, directed by Rob Brown, to address Maine’s “Silver Tsunami” of Maine’s retiring small business entrepreneurs that lack a succession plan for their businesses. Small business are the backbone of Maine’s economy, especially in rural communities, and majority of these entrepreneurs lack a business succession plan. All too often, the default succession option for business owners nearing retirement is liquidation and closure, and the smaller and more rural the business the more likely that outcome. Nationally, the largest single source of avoidable job loss is from business closings due to owner retirement, and the annual rate of retirement is projected to double over the next 20 years.

Survey research shows that 80% of Maine business owners say they want to retire within a decade, but fewer than 20% have a documented succession plan. Employee ownership conversion has proven to be an effective strategy, but not enough business owners understand it. Strategies to address this include outreach and education to business owners and community stakeholders, and technical assistance consultations for individual businesses on valuation, financial analysis, feasibility, and workforce assessment and education.

With the support from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation, CDI’s Business Ownership Solutions program will partner with other organizations such as Maine Stream Finance, a subsidiary of Penquis CAP, the Mid-coast Leadership Academy, and area Chambers of Commerce to provide succession education workshops focused on the conversion of existing businesses to employee owned enterprises, in the Mid-coast. These educational forums and trainings will build on the successful pilot program launched this spring, and will be offered in Waldo, Knox, and Lincoln Counties.

If you are a small business owner in Mid-coast Maine, and you’re interested in learning more about how converting your business to employee ownership can be a viable succession plan for your business, contact Rob Brown, Director of Business Ownership Solutions, for CDI at rbrown@cdi.coop.

CDI Receives $5,000 Award from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation!