Employee Ownership News archive
Colorado launches employee ownership tax credit Green Taxi is a platform cooperative owned by its taxi drivers operating in the Denver area. by Karen Kahn A promising model for how states can support more employee ownership conversions has just been put in place in Colorado, where Governor Jared Polis has long been a strong advocate…
The National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by President Biden on December 27 contains the first-ever government contracting program to specifically encourage ESOPs.
In a short video, Marjorie Kelly, senior fellow at The Democracy Collaborative, explains how the State Small Business Credit Initiative can be leveraged for employee ownership transitions.
To create demand, business schools need a new message.
Benchmarking survey shows coops offer better jobs, resulting in less turnover.
The $10 billion Treasury program allows for employee ownership investments.
Policy and advocacy organization plans to build political momentum for broad-based ownership policies.
Goal to reach small business owners who haven’t considered the employee ownership option.
New report argues worker ownership is solution to multiple economic challenges.
Academy of Management workshop shows some faculty are finding creative ways to fill the gap.
Employee buyouts can be opaque to newcomers. [The Guidelines] help guide investors, asset managers, and professional advisors in structuring deals that maximize positive impact for employees.
Capital Impact Partners announces winners of seventh annual Co-op Innovation Awards.
Project Equity and Mission-Driven Finance collaboration offers flexible capital to businesses transitioning to employee ownership.
Ownership Hub is a collaborative initiative to scale employee ownership across the UK
DC embraces equity and community wealth building; Missouri receives support from SRC Holdings/Great Game of Business.
Marjorie Kelly, co-founder of Fifty by Fifty and a leading authority on the democratic economy, talks with Bret Keisling, host of The ESOP Podcast.
Announcing its first close at $30 million, the fund plans to acquire about 8 firms with majority workforces of color to transition to employee ownership.
Dick May and Chris Mackin: A $100 billion loan guarantee program for employee ownership would be transformational
A federal loan guarantee program of $100 billion per year would permit policymakers to grasp how employee ownership could truly address the problem of economic inequality on a national level.
Growing momentum to put social purpose at the center of employee ownership firms.
Dataset from first national survey of co-op workers publicly available through Democracy at Work Institute.
The reauthorization of the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) could offer a timely answer to the down payment dilemma.
State Centers for Employee Ownership could ramp up their education and outreach to business owners, business service providers, and state leaders with SSBCI technical assistance funds.
Could SSBCI 2.0 provide the capital to begin to significantly redistribute business ownership?
As a field we will need to work hard to build the pathways for capital and technical assistance within the SSBCI program.
New data shows Minnesotans over 55 own 52,000 local businesses.
Acquisition extends Evergreen network and adds 35 good-paying jobs.
City seeks ideas on shared ownership of businesses, housing, and land As it looks to spur economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic, New York City is searching for solutions that will address long-term economic disparities. The Brooklyn Reader reports, the City has put out a Request for Information on the Issue of Shared…
Federal legislation could broaden access to employee ownership.
Equitable Economy Fund will provide early-stage equity.
Aspen Institute releases issue brief that details policy and practice interventions.
Employee Ownership Trusts are simpler to set up and easier to manage than ESOPs.
Fast Company commentary focuses on how government can support private investment.
Beta release offers opportunity for users to weigh in.
After piloting share-ownership in KKR’s manufacturing portfolio, Stavros ready to expand the model.
Teaching faculty, researchers and the public can access the Curriculum Library for Employee Ownership (CLEO).
Taylor Guitars converts to 100 percent employee ownership with unique finance partner
After nearly a year of living with the pandemic, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Employee Ownership NYC, the nation’s largest municipal investment in transitioning businesses to employee ownership.
At Kelso meeting, scholars share the impact of the pandemic on ESOPs and worker cooperatives.
Researchers examine what is needed for successful business to cooperative conversions.
Filling the finance gap to accelerate employee ownership
Local holding companies could help save small businesses and create a more equitable economy.
COVID-19 has accelerated need for succession planning and ensuring business owners know employee ownership is on the menu.
Books, films, conference updates and more
Employee Ownership Foundation releases survey data comparing pandemic response among ESOP and non-ESOP firms.
Co-op Cincy looks to sustain businesses and jobs in Southwest Ohio.
New report calls for broadening employee ownership, among other recommendations.
The International Center for Employee Ownership will provide a base for more effective education and advocacy.
New publication outlines best practices for investors, asset managers and others Harpoon Brewery became employee owned in 2014. by Karen Kahn The novel coronavirus has permanently shuttered tens of thousands of businesses, leaving millions of employees jobless in a perilous economy. The pandemic has had a particularly devasting impact on Black- and Latinx-owned businesses, with…
Marjorie Kelly argues for bold action in response to the small business crisis in The Hill.
Nuttal delivered this year’s annual Ghandi Foundation lecture.
A conversation with Todd Leverette, program manager for Legacy Business Initiatives at the Democracy at Work Institute
New paper examines how the tools of finance can advance employee ownership.
Coop Innovation Awards, new sponsors for Congressional legislation, and more
ChiFresh Kitchen prepares meals to help address food insecurity during the pandemic.
The WORC Coalition urges Californians to contact their legislators before the June 15 budget vote.
Bollman Hat Company turns to mask making to bring its factory back to life.
Employee owners at ESOPs shouldn’t lose their retirement savings.
An employee-ownership culture drives high-performance in a critical industry
Five lessons on how to keep your firm strong and nimble.
Employee ownership transitions could speed economic recovery, says The ICA Group
Latina cooperators helping each other to survive the economic shutdown.
Carolina Textile District ramps up PPE production.
Apply now for disaster relief.
After sale to employees, business founder will stay on to ensure success of future cooperative.
Employee ownership deals hindered by SBA rule that puts seller debt on standby by Bruce Dobb The largest source of financing for the sale of small, low-margin businesses that drive local economies are bank loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). However, these loans don’t work very well for workers who want to buy their…
Project Equity and Shared Capital Cooperative partnership brings financing and technical support to employee ownership transitions
Northwest Cooperative Development Center hopes to transform an industry.
New report from Democracy at Work Institute and U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives gives rich picture of state of sector.
Witnesses addressed financing challenges and solutions.
Employee ownership offers potential alternative to media companies seeking to retain journalistic integrity .
Fifty by Fifty presents guidelines at Rutgers Kelso fellows mid-year workshop by Karen Kahn In mid-January, the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing held its mid-year Kelso fellows meeting, in which scholars and practitioners spent two days sharing research and ideas to deepen understanding of the many forms of employee…
Proposals to scale employee ownership and profit-sharing aimed at state and municipal governments.
Mendoza Business Magazine explores relationship between Catholic social values and employee ownership
Medoza alum Jessica Rose featured in business mag story exploring the benefits of employee ownership–and the barriers to going to scale.
I’ve been wondering when the craft beer market would begin consolidating. A few years ago, shockwaves went through the Cascadia craft beer community when 10 Barrels sold to Anheuser-Busch Inv Bev and worse, Full Sail sold to an investment company. Around the same time, another ESOP brewery in Oregon sold as well; it was notable…
Indivisble reserves are one way for worker cooperatives to prevent demutualization.
The worker cooperative franchise provides a model to go to scale.
There is movement afoot in the ESOP marketplace to create scaled capital institutions that can drive the conversion of privately held businesses into employee owned companies and compete with conventional financing sources.
How one interprets the sale of New Belgium depends on how one answers the ends vs. means question.
What should we be doing today to lay the foundation for future generations to have a democratic, equitable economic system?
Kirin, it appears, has blood on its hands. Whether New Belgium can bring its ethical and moral leadership to bear on its new corporate parent remains to be seen.
Christopher Michael: Could the Employee Ownership Trust Better Sustain Perpetual Employee Ownership?
The next step in broadening access to this simpler, less expensive, and perpetual form of employee ownership is public policy.
What does it say about the viability of market-based strategies that even the most integral moral commitment to worker equity ultimately could not stand up to economic and market pressures?
We should resist the temptation to mistake what is for what could or should be.
While both co-ops and ESOPs are often included under the umbrella of “employee ownership,” this term has been largely appropriated by conventional economic thought that places the right to dispose of property at the center of ownership rights.
Can lessons from New Belgium help us think differently about employee ownership in high-growth sectors?
Rumors of the death of employee ownership are greatly exaggerated.
We ought to celebrate instances of employee self-determination, including the right of employees to cash out and move on.
Sustainability isn’t the same as immortality, and it certainly doesn’t mean stagnation.
An ESOP in and of itself doesn’t create a company like New Belgium—it takes culture, too.
Employee ownership was core to New Belgium’s identity, and their story offered an alternative model to many concerned by the corporate consolidation of the craft beer sector over the past few years.
As employee ownership advocates, we need to address why so many ESOP companies walk away from broad-based ownership.
It turns out that there are plenty of investors and lenders happy to take a supporting role knowing that we’ve prevented ourselves from selling our company, and our mission, to the highest bidder.
We should aspire for ESOP permanence, but not regard it as a failure when a great ESOP successfully transitions to a different structure.
Employee ownership must become more than a community of practice, we must marshal our resources and become a movement for positive social change.
Employee ownership expert and author of “The Citizen’s Share” on the sale of New Belgium.
While it would be nice for the ESOP community to retain its great companies permanently, that is not a realistic goal unless employee owners are willing to forego potentially significant economic returns or market opportunities.
It will be easier for worker co-ops to acquire loans under the new policy of limited guarantees.
Proposed model could provide a vehicle for investors to finance worker-centric employee ownership conversions.
Some simple requirements could ensure that employee-owned firms seeking certification are controlled by people of color.
New ESCA survey data shows ESOP employees are more financially secure.
ESOPs are far more successful in acquiring and integrating new businesses than traditional firms, according to new research.
For cities, employee ownership offers opportunity to retain local businesses.
Fifty by Fifty joined mission-led employee-owned companies to shine spotlight on benefits of employee ownership.
Small Business Administration report offers no alternatives to the personal guarantee.
New resource to help baby boomer-owned businesses
with succession planning.
Is it enough to have millions of employee owners with tiny shares of publicly traded companies?
New statute will make it easier to launch and grow worker cooperatives.
Employee ownership makes stakeholder capitalism real,
says Marjorie Kelly in the Boston Globe.
Grants will catalyze at least 100 employee ownership conversions over five years.
Marjorie Kelly and Ted Howard highlight movement for a democratic economy.
An ESOP trust doesn’t qualify as a minority-owned business.
At the Beyster Symposium, Fifty by Fifty panel explored a new financing model to scale employee ownership.
Evergreen Cooperatives plans expansion of its laundry co-op model to New Haven and other cities.
PA Center for Employee Ownership models strategy for states to expand employee-owned companies.
Widespread consensus on employee ownership revealed by national survey question.
City’s partnership with Project Equity aims to address wave of business closures.
Participants at the USDA Interagency Working Group meeting see role for government leadership.
Firms united in desire to spread transformative enterprise design model.
New report show how ESOPs can close wealth gap.
Preparing Business Advisors to Carry Out New Mandate.
A worker and consumer cooperative powered by renewables.
Fifty by Fifty releases report identifying new ownership design.
Retiring business owners target for employee ownership conversions.
New report proposes giving workers the “right of first refusal.”
Mission-led employee-owned firms embody a powerful model of enterprise design for a new era of environmental sustainability and social equity.
Employee ownership deepens engagement, builds community.
New executive office on employee ownership poised to become model for other states.
Small Business Administration, DC Metro, holding five trainings for business owners by Karen Kahn In late February, the Washington Metro Area District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration held its first seminar for business owners interested in employee ownership as a potential exit strategy. The plan is to hold one a month in each of the…
Scaling employee ownership requires dispelling common misunderstandings by Bruce Dobb A number of factors inhibit the growth of employee ownership, among them, common misconceptions among small business owners. The three most common myths we encounter at Concerned Capital when discussing employee ownership with small business clients preparing to sell are: Employee ownership means an ESOP.All employees must…
USDA grants fund employee ownership education workshops targeting business advisors.
Cerveses Lluna Bio Beer leads organic beer production in Spain.
New Coalition Aims to Raise Awareness and Build Capacity by Karen Kahn Hoda Katebi, an Iranian-American fashion designer, known for her fashion blog JooJoo Azad, has turned her sights to helping immigrant and refugee women by starting a clothing production cooperative in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Blue Tin Production Co-op, says Katebi, will create jobs for…
New Corporate Status Could Protect Company from Outside Buyers by Karen Kahn Heritage Aviation Campus “Making business decisions that give weight to both profit and social impact has made us a more successful company because it has made us a more meaningful organization to our customers, vendors, employees and community,” says Dave Stiller, CEO of Heritage…
Cities are embracing employee ownership (EO) as an economic development strategy that delivers both growth and equity. To further explore how, why and where, Employee Ownership News has started a new series focused on urban ecosystems. Take a look at our first two stories to see how: · Durham, NC, is seeking to maintain the legacy of African-American…
An Organizational Culture that Drives Success by John Case This story was originally published at Employee-Owned America, February 1, 2019, and is reposted here with permission. What’s interesting about TDIndustries, a big mechanical construction and facilities-services firm, isn’t just its business results, though heaven knows those results are impressive enough. Founded 73 years ago in Dallas, TD…
Mosaic Capital Partners Leads Conversion to Employee Ownership by Karen Kahn Best Friends Pet Hotel is a growing pet boarding, day care, grooming and training business, with 30 locations throughout the country. Every day, pet owners trust the devoted staff of Best Friends to care for their furry family members. It’s recent transition to employee ownership…
Local anti-poverty organization, Catalyst Miami, partners with JP Morgan Chase This story, part of our series on cities growing employee ownership, is based an op ed that appeared in the Miami Herald. Miami hopes to stem the tide of gentrification with employee-owned businesses. In 2016, a report from Florida International University recommended employee-owned cooperatives as one of several…
Companies See Bottom-Line Benefits From Worker Ownership by B the Change Technicians for Sustainability became an employee-owner cooperative in 2017. (Photo courtesy TFS) Thinking long-term. Acting like a team player. Caring for the customers. Showing ownership mentality. While any business would be lucky to have employees with those qualities, they’re a priority when Technicians for Sustainability (TFS) looks…
As Black Business Owners Approach Retirement, Succession Planning Lags This story is based on reporting from Next City. Fifty by Fifty is beginning 2019 with a new series exploring city strategies for growing employee ownership. In our first article, we look at how Durham, NC, a city with a strong legacy of African-American entrepreneurial activity, is promoting…
by Fifty By Fifty As we embark on the new year, there is a lot of talk about a “Green New Deal.” At Fifty by Fifty, we are all for policies that bring our economy into alignment with the needs of our planet. We’ve spent much of the last year exploring the relationship of employee ownership…
Kimberly Jones Is Preserving a Legacy and Building a Future for Butler/Till by Sarah Stranahan Butler/Till leadership team (L-R) Melissa Palmer, Peter Infante, and Kimberly Jones Fifty by Fifty spoke with Kimberly Jones to learn what it is like to step into leadership at an employee-owned B corporation. Jones became the president of Butler/Till, an advertising…
An Interview with Carina Millstone “We cannot have an ecologically sustainable economy when we have the publicly traded corporation as an economic actor,” says Carina Millstone, author of Frugal Value: Designing Business for a Crowded Planet, in a recent Next System Podcast. Millstone is deeply concerned with how we build a sustainable economy, one that “creates the…
John Lewis Partnership’s employee ownership structure is simple. . . . John Lewis employees are not bought out at retirement. Rather, they enjoy profit-sharing during the years that they work at the company.
ASBC sees employee ownership as key to building a sustainable economy by Sarah Stranahan The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is a network of businesses and business associations that have committed themselves to the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. In recent years, advancing employee ownership has been a key component of ASBC’s agenda: to…
Conversions of conventional firms represent 25 percent of new coops by Karen Kahn In their annual report, “Worker Cooperatives: State of the Sector,” the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) and the U.S. Federation of Cooperatives paint a picture of the cooperative sector and how it is changing over time. Among the key findings, the sector continues to grow at a…
Reports, meetings, webinars — employee ownership is a topic of growing interest by Karen Kahn National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) Issues Retirement Security Report: “S Corporation ESOPs and Retirement Security,” a new NCEO research report, compares the retirement savings of employees in ESOP companies to average retirement savings among all U.S. workers. The survey of members of the Employee-Owned S…
Scotland for EO Sets “Audacious” Goal for Scaling Up Employee Ownership Scotland for EO launched their campaign last summer, referencing the inspiration of the Fifty by Fifty initiative. 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…
New Belgium Brewery’s Sustainability Values Grounded in Worker Friendly Culture By Sarah Stranahan New Belgium’s brewery, in Asheville, North Carolina, is built on a former brownfield. The New Belgium Brewing Company began when a couple of Belgium beer enthusiasts, Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan, made beer in their Colorado basement. Their amber ale, Fat Tire, was so…
Cooperative Fund of New England Is Meeting the Challenge Low-water landscape, A Yard and A Half Landscaping by Micha Josephy Cooperative Fund of New England (CFNE) is a community development financial institution (CDFI), founded in 1975 to provide financing and development support to New England’s cooperatives. CFNE aggregates loan capital largely from individual and family trust…
New Fund to preserve jobs by acquiring companies and converting them to employee ownership “ Our theory is that the reason employee ownership has been slow to grow is a lack of agency — no one is incentivized to promote employee ownership conversions in a way that can compete with the strength of the traditional mergers and…
New research from Fifty by Fifty focuses on employee ownership and environmental sustainability.
With mid-term elections around the corner, Fifty by Fifty is tracking the latest policy developments in the employee ownership arena. SBA draft regulations open for comment The Small Business Administration has issued proposed regulations to clearly define the loan process for the 7 (a) Preferred Lender Program, following the passage of the Main Street Employee Ownership…
Are mission-controlled, employee-owned companies better environmental stewards than conventional finance-controlled corporations? Is transitioning to employee ownership a more likely path to keeping a firm’s ecological mission alive, compared to selling a firm to a large competitor? The answer to these questions is critical to enterprise design for the 21st century and beyond. If we understand…
North River Boats ESOP Conversion Aided by Mission-Oriented Lender The Cascade, built by North River Boats The following article is based on Allison Sackett’s original blog posted at Beneficial State Foundation. Banking is often synonymous with extracting wealth from communities; but not all banks use this model. On the West Coast, Beneficial State Bank, founded by Kat Taylor and…
New Report Analyzes Market for Co-op Conversions by Alison Powers In September, Capital Impact Partners and the ICA Group, with support from Citi Community Development, released a groundbreaking report, “Co-op Conversions at Scale: A Market Assessment for Expanding Worker Co-op Conversions in Key Regions & Sectors.” The report points to an enormous opportunity to convert…
By Fran Korten Business owners looking to sell their companies to their employees just got a helping hand from the federal government. It’s the first such measure that’s passed Congress in more than 20 years. Tucked into the omnibus National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Trump in August 2018 was language directing the U.S….
A Multistakeholder Ownership Design Protects Company Values By Sarah Stranahan Berrett-Koehler Publishers (BK), an Oakland, California -based independent publisher, created a Constitution in 2016 that begins with the words, “We are embarked together on a journey to do the seemingly impossible — to create a world that works for all. No road map exists for this journey, so we are…
SUNY Center preparing to support employee ownership transitionsF SUNY SBDC recently assisted the Rose Garden Early Childhood Center in its transition to becoming a worker cooperative. The nation’s roughly 1,000 Small Business Development Centershave a new mandate. The newly passed Main Street Employee Ownership Act (MSEOA) directs these technical assistance centers, which are hosted by universities and state…
New Small Business Administration Mandate Garners Media Attention Senator Gillibrand led effort to include support for employee ownership in the Defense Authorization Act by Erin Kesler Signed into law last month, the John McCain National Defense Authorization Act contained a provision to expand employee ownership to more Americans. Drawn from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) Main Street Employee…
Unique Governance Structures Designed to Protect Employee Ownership by Sarah Stranahan Kevin and Nicole Koch, founders of Technicians for Sustainability (TFS), a solar design–build firm based in Tucson, Arizona, built their company from scratch. After more than a decade of running the business, the couple made an unconventional decision, converting TFS to a worker cooperative…
How the problems of stock market ownership led this firm to employee ownership by Marjorie Kelly EA Engineering, an environmental consulting firm, found its values upended when the company went public. To return to its roots, the original founder bought the company back and then transitioned to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) along with…
A business that puts sustainability and human rights at its core Eileen Fisher fabrics are dyed without hazardous chemicals. by Sarah Stranahan Eileen Fisher, Inc., designs women’s clothing. The company, which is 40 percent employee owned and a B Corp, is a leader in its human rights and sustainability practices. We wanted to understand how Eileen…
ESOP plus B Corporation by Sarah Stranahan Fifty by Fifty recently spoke with Suzanne McDowell, one of a three-person co-CEO team currently leading King Arthur Flour, as part of our research into the relationship between employee ownership and environmental sustainability. We knew King Arthur Flour, under the leadership of then-CEO Steve Voigt, had become a founding B…
As retirement neared, Butler and Till chose to protect their company culture with an ESOP by Sarah Stranahan When Butler/Till’s original founders Sue Butler and Tracy Till began to look at retirement, they were concerned about protecting their company culture. They had thought they would look for a compatible buyer but instead chose to transfer…
Pioneering a New Business Structure to Preserve Mission by Natalie Reitman-White In some situations, employee ownership via an ESOP may not be suited to advancing a sustainability mission, due to the demand on profits that comes from a perpetual duty to buy back shares from employees. Organically Grown Company faced this situation with a wave…
How Employee Ownership Has Protected a Founder’s Vision by Marjorie Kelly What is a company? The dominant view today, the Wall Street view, is of an object owned by shareholders, which has a primary purpose of producing a smooth flow of earnings, like so many ball bearings off an assembly line. The alternative the planet…
National survey shows small but steady growth of U.S. worker cooperatives by Karen Kahn A new report from the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) and the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives estimates that 357 worker cooperatives operated in the United States in 2016. These businesses employed 6,833 people and generated $428 million in gross revenues in 2016.[i] As the numbers suggest,…
New Economy Coalition Conference Embraces Employee Ownership by Sarah Stranahan The importance of taking employee ownership to scale was front and center at the June CommonBound conference in St. Louis, Missouri. More than 700 people attended this biannual event of the New Economy Coalition, including activists, thinkers and leaders from across the world, working for a more…