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Worker-Owned Businesses

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What is a Co-op?

A co-op business is a worker-owned business. For current owners, it is a tool for succession management for owners that want to step away from the everyday job of running that business.

Never heard of a co-op? Sure you have: REI, every local credit union, your local CSA, a solar company, maybe even your local pizza shop! They’ve been around for decades!

A co-op is a pathway to plan for the future and create a fair return on your investment. It is a business transaction (sale) where employees purchase the business and take part in the running it.

For city governments, co-ops allow small and medium sized businessed to continue to thrive, even in a tight fiscal environment.

During an economic downturn, research as shown that Worker-Owned businesses, keep workers employed. Though there might be less hours for the employee, the business stays in place as it is a shared responsibility for the business to continue.

Some of the key benefits to transitioning a privately owned business to an employee-owned Worker Cooperative are:

Owner Benefits of a Co-Op

  • The current owner can sell their business to the employees, creating the opportunity for the owner to get a fair sales price for their business.
  • The current owner can create a legacy, allowing the business to continue on after they leave the business.
  • The current can create secession plan as an exit strategy.
  • The current owner can stay involved, take a less demanding position in the company, or step away completely.

Employee Benefits of Co-Ops

  • Opportunity to become an owner of the business they are part of and take on leadership.
  • Little to no cash required up-front to become an owner.
  • Ability to learn “the business.”
  • Increased pay and benefits.
  • Voice in the future of their workplace, and abiltity to create rules and consequences in their workspace.
  • Equity in your workplace.
  • Transparency in how their business is run and operated.

Societal (Government) Benefits
  • Anchor businesses in the community.
  • Prevent the unnecessary closing of businesses in the community.
  • Create a platform for wealth building for workers.
  • Increase wages for businesses in the community.
  • Provide a solution for the “silver tsunami” of aging business owner (baby boomers) who want to sell their business.
  • Response to COVID

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