Quebec’s economic future tied to successful business transfer

May 15, 2019 | Small Business Support

Business transfer represents a major challenge for the future of Quebec – from maintaining its workforce in the regions to safeguarding important services provided by entrepreneurs that sustain a community’s vitality.

Many Quebec small and medium enterprise (SME) owners are thinking about their future beyond their current situation.

A new benchmark portrait offers insights into Quebec SMEs that require attention in the short-term to ensure a vital economy in the future. At the recent Sommet International du Repreneuriat, there was a call to promote and increase the appeal of purchasing a business vs. starting a new one in Quebec.

When successful, this act increases workforce stability and innovative growth, through a planned knowledge transfer from owner to buyer.

When successful, this act increases workforce stability and innovative growth, through a planned knowledge transfer from owner to buyer.

The Portrait du repreneuriat de PME au Québec en 2017, a new document launched at the summit, confirms that business transfer is on the rise and that 23% of majority SME owners in Quebec surveyed indicated their intention to transfer an SME over the course of 2017-2022. This represents a 5% increase from 2007 and 8,000 businesses in Quebec.

This research, undertaken by the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) École de gestion, compares business transfer and intention with that of Canadian SMEs between 2007 and 2017.

The report states that “in 2017, close to one in three SMEs was the result of a business transfer in Quebec, while in Canada this proportion was 25%. In addition, the proportion of SMEs stemming from business transfer increased from 25% in 2007 to 32% in 2017, while it went from 23% to 25% in the rest of Canada.”

While confirming the numbers is important, preparing upcoming SME owners and buyers for success will be no easy task given factors such as Quebec’s aging workforce and the full-employment situation accompanied by a lack of skilled employees for many sectors.

SMEs in Quebec’s rural regions, at 44%, are the most active when it comes to businesses with new owners. What’s important to note is that there is plenty of work to be done, according to the study’s numbers. As SME owners begin dreaming of life after selling their business, Quebec is faced with the challenge of preparing them to successfully transfer their businesses.

This requires the right mix of ingredients to get it right: passion, shared values, preparation, planning, professional support and time.

The Centre de transfert d’entreprise du Québec (CTEQ) and its partners – from SME owners, advisors, potential buyers, researchers and professionals – are in the business of supporting successful transfers.

The third annual Sommet International du Repreneuriat, held in Quebec City on May 8, demonstrated a vibrant community of practice in action, offering participants training, insight, and information on every step. Government of Quebec representatives present at the summit spoke of adding flexibility to the system and of making it a priority to support SME business transfer in Quebec.