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Community Advocacy Organization

LEAP and C2BE Join Forces to Strengthen Ingham County Business Community through "Leave a Legacy"

New Program Helps Small Business Owners Plan for the Future with Free Succession Planning

LANSING, Mich. (Aug. 11, 2022) As part of the Ingham County Sunrise Program, established by the Ingham County Board of Commissioners in April 2021, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and the Center for Community-Based Enterprise (C2BE) are partnering to offer Ingham County small businesses the opportunity to participate in the Leave a Legacy Business Succession Program. This program provides Ingham County small business owners with exit planning support and assistance in selling their businesses to their employees.

"Using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to stabilize and grow the county's current and future economy has been a primary focus of the Ingham County Board of Commissioners. The Board also recognizes the impact programs like Leave a Legacy have on the broader regional economy, which is vital for all county residents," said Ingham County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bryan Crenshaw. "Thank you to LEAP for continuing to provide vital assistance to distribute the county's ARPA funds through programs that reach our most vulnerable businesses and residents."

Ingham County is predominantly a small business community, with 98% of businesses employing 50 or fewer employees, the types of businesses most likely to not have succession plans in place.

"Succession planning is a fantastic opportunity to retain the local gems that make Ingham County unique. This program will help sustain and grow the local economy by ensuring small business owners, who are the core and movement of Ingham County, are set up for ongoing success once they have their succession plans in place," said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP.

All too often, when the time comes for small business owners to retire, they seldom have a succession plan in place and businesses dissolve, leaving longtime employees without jobs and communities with goods and services gaps.

"The goal is to have a three-fold win: current business owners are educated and positioned to sell their business; employees become owners of the business and increase their income; and the community wins by having long standing businesses remain open," said Tony Willis, chief equity development officer of LEAP.

"The number of small businesses that don't have succession plans ranges from 68-80% and only one out of five businesses put up for sale sells," according to Karen Tyler-Ruiz, executive director of C2BE.

The Leave a Legacy Business Succession program is free of charge and offers one-on-one consultation with experts, a feasibility assessment of transitioning to a worker-owned business, transition planning and information on how to sell a small business to employees. LEAP chose C2BE, a nonprofit that exists to promote and help create worker-owned businesses, as the technical service provider for this program, given their deep expertise in successful worker-owned cooperative planning.

Our next webinar will be held on Tuesday, August 23. Please register at or contact C2BE at (313) 429-5053 or email for more information.

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