Scotland for EO Sets “Audacious” Goal for Scaling Up Employee Ownership
Last summer, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon launched Scotland for EO, a public-private partnership to lead efforts to expand the number of employee-owned companies across Scotland. The campaign goal is to increase the number of employee-owned companies from 100 to 500 by 2030. Says Sarah Deas, director of Cooperative Development Scotland, the inspiration for this “audacious” goal was the U.S. Fifty by Fifty campaign, which is aiming to increase the number of U.S. employee owners to 50 million by 2050.
In announcing the campaign from the employee-owned resort Auchrannie on the Isle of Arran, Sturgeon touted the benefits of employee ownership:
“All the evidence tells us that employee ownership delivers benefits to business performance, the people who work in them and the places in which they are located. This has certainly been the experience of the Auchrannie team in Arran.”
Deas, who is a key member of the leadership group for Scotland for EO, noted that over the last five years employee- and worker-owned businesses have tripled in number. “Promoting employee ownership,” she said, “helps drive growth in the economy and create greater wealth equality in society.”
“Promoting employee ownership helps drive growth in the economy and create greater wealth equality in society.”
— Sarah Deas, director Cooperative Development Scotland
As in the U.S., businesses in Scotland recognize that employee ownership helps to build a team that cares deeply about the company and will protect the company’s legacy. Linda Johnson, co-founder and managing director of the Auchrannie Resort, said:
“We first started looking at employee ownership as a means of protecting the ethos of the company. The team have been involved in the process from an early stage and were given the opportunity to input throughout. They are delighted that Auchrannie’s legacy will be protected and that they have the chance to play an active part in, and benefit from, Auchrannie’s future success.”
Concluding the press conference, First Minister Sturgeon described why the government is putting £75,000 into Scotland for EO. “We want to make it easier for companies and workers to find out more about [the employee-ownership] model and to move towards it if it’s right for them,” she said.
—Karen Kahn provides communications consulting and editorial support for Fifty by Fifty.
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