Legacy Leadership Lab - L3


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. In addition with the COVID-19 regulations affecting nearly every small business across the country, more business owners than ever must make tough choices about the survival and sustainability of their enterprise.

These are systemic issues that require 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 running structured social innovation workshops in three formats: the Design Stream, the Activation Stream, and the broader L3 Community monthly events. The Legacy Leadership Lab will assist L3 members in developing 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, while connecting them to bro


WISIR’s team is running and facilitating the L3 initiative and virtual 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 joining or forming a Design Group.

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.

Legacy Leadership Lab is supported by generous funders and sponsors.

The Legacy Leadership Lab is funded by the Government of Canada's Investment Readiness Program.

canada logo

IRP logo

The Legacy Leadership Lab has also received generous support from DUCA Impact Lab as the Platinum Sponsor for the Toronto Workshop in January 2020.

DUCA Impact Lab

Finally, we recognize the generous in-kind support of the following organizations: The Making Box, Realize Strategies.

Making Box logo

  1. July 16, 2020Sneak preview of L3's Community Event - July 23 at 11am EDT
    July Community Event

    Monthly Community Events 

    We are excited to announce that we will be hosting our first of a series of monthly Community Events, starting in July.

  2. June 8, 2020Sneak preview of L3's Relaunch Event - June 11 at 2pm EDT
    Launch event

    L3 is relaunching into a fully online model  

    It came as no surprise to our partners, friends, and stakeholders when we made the announcement that our second workshop, originally scheduled for April 29-30 in Halifax, was instead to be delivered entirely remotely. Rather than two full days of programming, we delivered the Atlantic Online workshop as three half-days from April 28 to 30, using a combination of Zoom, Google Suite, and Mural to replicate an in-person experience.

  3. May 5, 2020Switching to real time updates

    April marked the beginning of L3’s last 12 months of operations, and what a year it will surely be. Upon delivering two multi-day workshops in April – one for the Waterloo Region and one for the national community – L3 is switching to a more dynamic, asynchronous, and needs-based delivery model with its events. We’ll be focusing on iterative and collaborative work with our participants that will mean more frequent touch points and much more online interaction.

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