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March 27, 2008
For immediate release

PEI Succession Planning at its Best

Development and Technology

A new business succession initiative aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship opportunities for people aged 34 years and younger has been developed by the UPEI School of Business and the PEI Department of Development and Technology.

As a new initiative, "The Adopted Son or Daughter Program" encourages youth to consider a career as an entrepreneur by removing such obstacles as financing, lack of experience and the need for ongoing mentoring. In addition, many Island business owners are looking to reduce their workload or to retire, and are currently contemplating options to begin the process of ownership change. Bridging the gap between youth and existing business owners is a win-win situation.

PEI Business Development will provide five-year, interest-free loans to enable participants to purchase a minimum of 10 to 25 per cent of the shares in an existing business. “These loans will give young entrepreneurs access to equity that they may have difficulty acquiring on their own,” says Richard Brown, Minister of Development and Technology. “This program will also address the needs of business owners who are looking for someone to take over when they retire. It’s addressing the needs of both young entrepreneurs and the business community.”

"The Adopted Son or Daughter Program" was developed by local businessperson and UPEI entrepreneurship professor Mike Cassidy. “The biggest problem we have in entrepreneurship is: Does the person stepping into a business really understand the business? Do they know how to operate the business on a daily basis?” says Cassidy. “This program allows the young person to gain valuable experience and equity in the business. The young entrepreneur has to keep in mind the concept of ‘work to learn,’ not ‘work to earn,’ and the benefits of long-term gain.”

Mike Cassidy experienced the benefits of this business model when he and 29-year-old Cory Peters purchased Enviroage Plastics Industries Limited in 2004 on a 50-50 basis. The arrangement has worked out so well that the two have also acquired the Charlottetown OK Tire Store business. Cory Peters, a UPEI/UNB graduate, says, “The fact that I have a senior, more experienced and successful business person to bounce ideas off of, to redirect me and to show me how to tackle situations that arise in business — it’s huge. I owe it all to Mike for taking me under his wing.”

Dr. Roberta MacDonald, Dean of the UPEI School of Business, is excited about the program and believes it fills a need within the province. “We have many young people wanting to get into business knowing that experience and finance are two of the biggest challenges,” she says. “'The Adopted Son or Daughter Program' addresses both these issues. We are thrilled our program has attracted the attention and funding support from the John Dobson Foundation, a strong supporter of entrepreneurial activities at post-secondary institutions in Canada. Without our provincial government and the Dobson Foundation, 'The Adopted Son or Daughter Program' could not have been launched.”

Anyone wanting more information on the program can contact Joan Fleming at the UPEI School of Business, 566-0975, or Brian Keefe, PEI Business Development, 368-6300,

Media Contact: Island Information Service
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