Business Ownership Solutions (BOS) works with business owners to think through whether conversion to a cooperative could meet their needs, and with employees or community members to execute the co-op conversion.

For business owners, co-op conversion is one of the best ways to get a fair price for the business, sustain the legacy they’ve built, and, if structured properly, can provide substantial tax benefits for the current owner.

For employees, co-op conversion can improve wages and benefits, and offers an opportunity to build wealth through ownership.

BOS is a model of economic and community development that is equitable and sustainable, that builds on the assets and strengths of our people, and that supports broadly shared prosperity.

Why Business Ownership Solutions?

Many business owners have not prepared adequately for a smooth transition to the next generation of ownership, leaving the future of the jobs, products and services they provide in question. The facts give us reason to worry:

  • Within 10 years, over 40 percent of business owners expect to retire
  • Of these, less than half have a plan for what to do with their business
  • Only about 30% of family businesses survive into the second generation of the owner’s family
  • Businesses sold to an outside investor have a 50-50 chance, at best

Converting Maine’s independent businesses to worker-owned cooperatives would likely sustain these businesses. In fact, research shows that well planned employee buyouts succeed about 80% of the time.

Island Employee Cooperative board standing in front of one of the stores they bought on June 11, 2014, becoming Maine's largest worker-owned cooperative with the help of our Business Ownership Solutions program.
Island Employee Cooperative board standing in front of one of the stores they bought on June 11, 2014, becoming Maine’s largest worker-owned cooperative

With BOS, CDI is replicating the successful NEROC model of community organizing, transaction development and execution, and pre- and post-sale technical assistance in cooperative governance and management. We help convert conventionally owned businesses into worker or consumer co-ops and provide comprehensive education and development services to the new owners.

Contact Business Ownership Solutions

BOS Director Rob Brown can be reached by phone at 207-233-2987 and by email at