“Founding” a Startup by Acquisition

Workshop Thursday | 2–3:30 pm | MECA

Buying is an Option for the Next Generation of Maine's Entrepreneurs

One person’s 20 year-old business, can be another’s startup…It is estimated that of the roughly 32,000 small businesses with employees in Maine, roughly 75% of their owners will seek to retire within the next decade. Only 20% have a concrete succession plan. (maine.coop) Instead of starting from scratch, aspiring entrepreneurs may want to look into buying promising, existing businesses, particularly with their existing employer. The panelists will walk participants through the typical steps around acquiring an existing business and the possible financing needed. We will discuss all options for acquisitions but particular attention will be paid to the arising employee-owned cooperative model and the unique technical assistance and financing options available to support it. The panelists will discuss a real-life example of how a group of young employees formed an employee-owned cooperative and bought out a thriving and growing coffee roasting and café business in Midcoast Maine.

Aspiring entrepreneurs will learn about the possibility of buying an existing business (rather than starting from the beginning), the typical transition steps covered, potential pitfalls, and criteria to consider if buying a business is best and what form it should take. Attendees will learn about an arising model that most of us are unaware of, the employee-owned cooperative, that allows individuals to own businesses who normally would not be able to buy a business out right on their own.