Succession or Exit Plan Workshops for Preble County business owners

R-H Staff

EATON — The Preble County Chamber of Commerce, Co-op Dayton and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center at Kent State University have partnered to offer workshops on succession or exit planning to small businesses in the region. The workshops are appropriate for business owners at any point in their careers who want to develop financial and personnel goals for their business and chart a path to achieve them.

This month, the introductory workshops will provide an overview of the succession process, so that owners can begin to set goals for themselves and their businesses. At the advanced workshops in November, owners will develop key action steps to plan and achieve a successful exit. Business owners can also schedule one-on-one sessions with Kent State University staff to finalize their individual succession plans. The workshops and technical assistance are free to business owners with support from the USDA.

The Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) at Kent State University offers their Succession Planning Program to help small business owners transfer the ownership of their business to the next generation, with a specialty in selling to employees. Since it was founded in 1987, the OEOC has assisted hundreds of companies to retain more than 15,000 jobs in our state.

The workshops and technical assistance will be led by Roy Messing, Director of the OEOC. Messing has over 20 years of experience in commercial finance and served as CFO of a northeast Ohio business. He earned a BA in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University and an MBA from the University of Dayton. He holds designations as a Certified Exit Planning Advisor from the Exit Planning Institute and a Certified Value Builder Advisor from the Value Builder System.

Messing describes the program as workshops which “begin with education on business succession, and ultimately we will support individual rural business owners to develop their succession plans to continue and grow the operations of their businesses locally.”

Co-op Dayton is a non-profit organization which supports cooperative businesses to meet community needs, whether that is access to fresh groceries or to quality job opportunities. Co-op Dayton is currently working with the owners of several small businesses in the region to sell to their employees and structure as employee-owned cooperatives. The succession plan workshops are coordinated by Rachel Meketon, Program Director at Co-op Dayton.

Meketon added, “the cooperative model offers an exit strategy for small business owners that would like to sell to their employees but cannot afford the initial and ongoing costs of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan or ESOP.”

“We are pleased we can help offer this excellent resource for not only our members, but also any other interested business owners in Preble County,” Preble County Chamber Executive Director Leslie Collins said.

Workshops will be available both online, and in-person. In-person sessions are being offered at The Grange, 500 Nation Ave., Eaton, on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 9 a.m. For additional information and to register, visit

R-H Staff