Starting a Business: Shareholders’ Agreements

Shareholders should enter into a shareholders’ agreement in the early stages of starting a business.

Establishing respective rights early on can allow a business to operate smoothly. By entering into an agreement at the beginning, any issues that arise can be dealt with as prescribed in the agreement. Many shareholders make the mistake of waiting until there is a conflict to come to an agreement on rights and obligations. At this point, it may be too late.

Shareholders’ agreements are often tailored to address the specific needs of the business and the interests and concerns of the shareholders. Generally, this document can be used to:

  • Set out how the affairs of a corporation will be managed
  • Set out what rights the shareholders must share in the proceeds of the corporation, establish the respective contributions made by shareholders to the corporation, and any obligations to make future contributions
  • Provide ways to resolve potential conflicts between shareholders
  • Provide protection for minority shareholders

Get the Guide

To learn more about important considerations and information on starting a business in BC, download our in-depth guide.

More topics for start-ups to consider:

The Necessary First Steps

There are many necessary initial steps to take in order to successfully start or continue operations.

learn more

Business Structure

One of the very first steps of starting and running a business is choosing a legal structure for your business.

learn more


Starting a new business comes with many challenges, such as finding a space to operate.

learn more


At some point in your business’ lifecycle, you’ll probably need cash exceeding what your business is able to generate.

learn more


About Fraser

Fraser Hartley has worked with clients on a range of transactional matters, with a focus on corporate financings, mergers and acquisitions and financial restructurings. In addition, he provides advice on corporate governance and securities compliance issues and general corporate and commercial matters.

Fraser has acted for domestic, U.S. and international public and private companies and has significant experience acting for financial institutions in public and private capital markets transactions, secured lending and acquisition financings.

Prior to joining EKB, Fraser worked at an international law firm based in New York, practising U.S. law and also as legal counsel at a major U.S. investment bank supporting capital markets transactions.