Program to match college grads with retiring rural business owners

A program designed to keep rural businesses open for business by matching interested college graduates with businessmen who want to retire was announced Wednesday by the University of Kansas School of Business.

The Redefining Retirement program – nicknamed RedTire – will match qualified graduates who want to own a business with the business owners looking to retire, according to a news release from KU. The program is aimed at preventing rural businesses from closing because an owner can’t find a successor or buyer.

“Every day in rural communities, businesses close forever because an owner retires and can’t find someone to take over the business,” said Neeli Bendapudi, dean of the KU School of Business. “RedTire will address this issue by matching graduates with current business owners and facilitating a succession plan to keep the business running.”

In effect, RedTire is a matchmaking service, the news release said. Staff will screen prospective replacement managers and candidate businesses, then identify good matches for purchase opportunities.

From there, the program will help negotiate the purchase and transition of ownership terms, help establish a business purchase loan, and monitor and help the new owners successfully run and grow their new business.

RedTire is available to all graduates of Kansas Regents institutions and to current Kansas business owners. Services are free. For details or to apply for services, visit

RedTire is an initiative of the KU Center for Entrepreneurship, housed within the KU business school. The program will be financed through existing KU business school funding streams.