Legacy Leadership Lab - L3

Making change easier

L3 is an 18-month project led by the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) and funded by the Government of Canada's Investment Readiness program.


The small business succession challenge has been in Canadian headlines for decades, but business owners and their communities still struggle to manage ownership exits gracefully.

It is a systemic issue that requires expert-led problem-solving.


One owner’s exit is the chance for a whole new beginning. Businesses that are essential parts of their local communities can be converted from their traditional origins to social purpose or cooperative enterprises to continue that entrepreneurial legacy.


A small team at WISIR out of University of Waterloo’s School of Environment, Enterprise and Development is leading five Workshops from coast to coast to help build expert-driven solutions for Canada’s transitioning small business community. During these Workshops, the Legacy Leadership Lab will develop market interventions and prototypes that allow conventional and social finance players, business service providers, and community leaders to facilitate social purpose conversions of existing businesses in their own towns.


WISIR’s team is running and facilitating the L3 initiative and the five Workshops, but the Workshop participants are the ones doing the heavy lifting. If you or your organization is looking to design and test new market solutions in social finance and succession, consider participating in one, several, or all of our upcoming Workshops.

We are looking for

  • small business owners,
  • small business service providers,
  • small business financiers, and
  • other experts in the fields of business succession, cooperative and social enterprise development, and business conversions

who are interested in modeling and remaking Canada’s succession landscape.

Consult the navigation menu on the left for more details.

  1. Mar. 25, 2020Social Acquisitions for Business Recovery: the L3 solution

    There are 1.3 million small businesses with employees in Canada[1] and this week we have seen that all of them are at risk.

  2. Mar. 16, 2020L3 goes virtual
    going online

    In light of increasing public health protocols around travel and social distancing, L3 has elected to run its second round of workshops (Waterloo Region and Halifax) online.

  3. Feb. 4, 2020L3's January in Review
    Toronto map

    January has been our most exciting month yet here at L3. Between partnering with DUCA Impact Lab and running not one but two workshops, we’ve been busy!

    Waterloo Region Workshop

    We invited some of our friends and colleagues in Kitchener-Waterloo, including key players in small business and social enterprise like Community Futures and Iler Campbell, for a one-day mini workshop at our evolv1 Make Change classroom on January 15.

View all blog posts

Connect with us on Twitter

Connect with us on Facebook