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Want to be your own boss? Buy a business.

"Entrepreneurship takes two forms: starting a new business and building on an existing one. We often romanticize starting a new business, but statistically, 90% of new businesses fail in the first 5 years. While continuing to foster new businesses and ideas is important, many entrepreneurs, especially among youth, are starting to take advantage the second option. Seventy percent of entrepreneurs who buy existing businesses succeed past the 5-year mark. This is for a variety of reasons including existing cash flow, access to financing, knowledgeable staff, brand recognition, and perhaps most importantly the mentorship of the previous owner. Creating opportunities for new and young entrepreneurs to build on existing businesses not only sets them up for success, but it enables the communities who benefit from those business services to continue benefits for many years to come." - Alison Anderson, CEO SuccessionMatching

When I entered the Edwards School of Business, I had a dream of one day opening up my own bar. I soon realized that such a new venture creation was far riskier and more expensive than I’d anticipated, especially for a new entrepreneur such as myself. I also found that many of my colleagues did not share ambitions similar to mine; they had no particular interest in starting a business from scratch and reinventing the wheel. Few of them believed it would be possible to pursue their business goals in the communities they grew up in.

I did an Honours Research project on University Entrepreneurship centres and discovered there is a huge opportunity to establish programs that help entrepreneurs transition into existing businesses. This would not only retain and attract youth and new entrepreneurs, but it would also ensure the continuation of businesses and services in many communities throughout Saskatchewan. The simplest and most effective way to do this would be to establish a mentorship program. The program would provide the platform and training necessary for business owners to find qualified entrepreneurs and mentor them effectively. already provides both the platform to find buyers and the access to professional partners and experts.

Successful mentorship programs already exist in other fields. In order for this one to succeed, it will need to engage the University, the business community, and SuccessionMatching to find, connect, and assist good mentors and mentees throughout the transition process. By partnering with SuccessionMatching, the Edwards School of Business is providing its students with opportunities to acquire real-world business experience and success, while at the same time providing its business community affiliates with qualified, educated and ambitious entrepreneurs to build on their business legacy. To be an effective mentor, then, all the business owner really needs to do is care about the well-being of their business after they’ve sold it. To be an effective mentee, the new entrepreneur needs to be willing to work hard, listen, and learn.

For me, the barrier to entry of opening up a new bar was too great. My dream changed over time and I eventually pursued other opportunities. But a program like this could ensure that many other students currently in University or about to enter it realize their dream and help them find success, and their success will be felt in every community that sees all the “For Sale” signs turn into “Open for Business.”

Colby McClelland
Townfolio Profile - City of Humboldt