Democracy at Work Institute

ASBN – How Employee Ownership Can Reshape the Economic Outlook of South Atlanta’s Minority Neighborhoods

From the Atlanta Small Business Network: When it comes to small businesses and entrepreneurship, Atlanta is where business owners go to thrive. However, the story is not as bright for all of the city’s citizens. While Atlanta boasts a booming economy for most, the city became the number one most unequal large city in the country on […]

Next City – Can Employee Ownership Preserve Legacy Businesses in Communities of Color?

From Next City: Philadelphia and other cities across the U.S. face an impending wave of small business upheaval as Baby Boomer-era owners reach and pass retirement age. The majority of those owners have no clear succession plan, nor do they have a new generation ready and willing to assume ownership. As this “silver tsunami” approaches, […]

Santa Barbara Independent – Worker-Owned Cooperatives Can Succeed

From the Santa Barbara Independent: The phenomenon of worker-owned cooperatives is a simple concept. Workers weigh in on the conditions that affect them most: They vote to elect their board of directors and/or managers and/or to set wages and rules around profit redistribution. They can design the business so they have no managers or serve […]

Truthout – Capitalism Has Failed Immigrants. Can Worker Cooperatives Do Better?

From Truthout: “At first I was a bit nervous, a bit afraid, because I didn’t speak English very well and talking about finances and money wasn’t something I knew anything about,” Reyes admitted. “I was kind of lost at the beginning, but after a while, I started getting a better sense of what was going […]

Truthout – Explosion of Interest in Worker Cooperatives Drives Economic Changes

From Truthout: It’s been more than 10 years since the financial crisis of 2008, and working people are still being hammered by its effects — stagnating wages, a widening gap between the rich and the poor, and a rise in the sharing economy to meet basic needs. At the same time, one legacy of the […]

Commonwealth Hudson Valley – Cooperative Strategies 3: Support Conversions

From: Commonwealth Hudson Valley: In Philadelphia, city officials have teamed up with the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA) to support coop conversionsalong West Philly’s 52nd Street corridor. The area has one of the densest concentrations of black-owned businesses in the city, and many of the owners are at or beyond retirement age, with no prospects of […]

The Nation – What if Workers Owned Their Workplaces?

From The Nation: While many coops are start-ups, conversion of conventional businesses to cooperatives can be a vital investment in marginalized communities, and also widen accessibility to credit, since start-up capital can be pooled collectively. Of the 15 new cooperatives that launched in 2016, 11 were conversions. As struggling communities lose the mom-and-pop shops that […]

Bull City Today – Durham Participates in SEED Fellowship to Promote Equitable Business Retention

From Bull City Today: Find out how #Durham is continuing to find new ways to support the retention & expansion of local small, minority & women-owned businesses through an @leagueofcities, @Institute_coop & @USFWC SEED Fellowship on #BullCityToday. — CityofDurhamNC (@CityofDurhamNC) November 16, 2018

National League of Cities – Employee-Owned Businesses a Tool for Equitable Growth

From the National League of Cities:  Income and wealth inequality, exploitative working conditions and displacement are critical issues faced by communities across the country. These challenges require strategies that create both stable employment and access to opportunities for building assets. Local governments have traditionally invested in the dual pathways of entrepreneurship and workforce development to […]

Next City – Worker Co-ops Catch on in Philadelphia

From Next City: Last fall, Colombia native Luis Eduardo Lozano and four other immigrant day laborers, tired of the indignities of scant, irregular hours and wage theft from employers, formalized the PWA Handymen Cooperative in Philadelphia. Now the worker-owned LLC offers residential and commercial interior and exterior renovation services. “To work in a co-op means […]

NPQ – Report: Business Sales to Worker Co-ops Can Preserve over 1,000 Jobs a Year

From NPQ: Typically, when US businesses think of employee ownership, the form that ownership takes is an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) company. The most up-to-date data (from 2015) finds that 10.8 million Americans work at an estimated 6,669 companies in which an ESOP owns all or part of the company. Because an ESOP is a federally regulated […]

Next City – What Millions of Retiring Small Business Owners Could Mean for Cities

From Next City:  Roughly 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day in the United States. They don’t all own small businesses, but their aging presents an opportunity for more workers to get the chance to own businesses and even build some wealth. Baby Boomers own the majority of small businesses, but only 17 percent of […]

NPQ – Historic Federal Law Gives Employee-Owned Businesses Access to SBA Loans

Read full article at:  Nonprofit Quarterly As we noted in NPQ last fall, nearly half of US small business owners are baby boomers, aged 53 to 71. Collectively, they own 2.34 million businesses, employ 24.7 million people, and have combined sales of $5.14 trillion. It is estimated that 80 percent of these businesses lack a plan for what they are […]

Beneficial State Bank – The Employee Ownership Solution to the Silver Tsunami

From Beneficial State Bank: Linda and Gregory Coles founded their preschool, A Child’s Place, in their Queens, NY basement in 1983. Over the years it grew steadily and developed a deeply loyal community. Now they own a large building, employ more than 50 people and serve hundreds of families. Former students bring their own kids to […]

IEDC – For Retiring Business Owners, Worker-Owners Can Carry the Torch

From the International Economic Development Council (pdf): For the busy owners of small businesses, short-term pressures often take precedence over long-term planning. That’s why many business owners lack a succession plan to ensure that the enterprise will continue when they’re ready to step down. The stakes are especially high when the firm is a community […]

In these Times – Retirement of Boomer Business Owners Could Leave Millions Jobless – Unless Workers Take Over

From In These Times (pdf): The federal government estimates that more than 10,000 baby boomers retire every day—4 million people every year. Between them, soon-to-retire boomers own 2.34 million businesses, with nearly 25 million employees. Boomer-owned businesses generate $949 billion in payroll, and $5.14 trillion in sales. Yet the vast majority of boomer business owners lack a written […]

Confluence – New & Next: The Strengths of Employee Ownership

Building off of these trends, the Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center (RMEOC), has collaborated with policymakers like James Coleman (D) and Jack Tate (R) to introduce HB17-1214, Encouraging Employee Ownership of Existing Business. The bill would create a revolving loan to assist businesses with conversion fees. It would also require that staff members of the Colorado Office of […]

Century Foundation – Reducing Economic Inequality through Democratic Worker-Ownership

From The Century Foundation: Employee-owned companies are a specific type of for-profit business owned by their workers; democratic employee-owned businesses are owned and also run by their workers. As a concept, employee-ownership is primarily about profit-sharing and worker participation. Employee-owned companies allow workers to take home a bigger, fairer share of the fruits of their […]

Yes – As Boomers Retire, Mom-and-Pop Businesses Convert to Co-ops to Save Jobs

From Yes Magazine: Five years later, things are better for Rock City, though certainly not perfect. And at age 64, Ward is ready to retire. With help from Rob Brown of the Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) in Maine, she is now working on the details of transitioning Rock City to worker ownership. “I had three […]

Webinar Recap – Poverty Alleviation and Systems Change with Worker Cooperatives

From Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy: A time-tested approach to community economic development internationally, worker cooperative businesses are making inroads in the United States with regional initiatives in New York City, Madison, the Bay Area, and rural areas in the South. In this webinar, we aim to introduce worker-cooperative development as an innovative approach to poverty […]

Shelterforce – Employee Ownership: A Solution that Preserves Retiring Owners’ Businesses

From Shelterforce: Reflecting growing enthusiasm for worker co-ops, the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy—held last month in Worcester, Massachusetts—attracted a record 300-plus participants. One item on the agenda: the possibility of creating new worker cooperatives through conversions in which employees buy a business from an exiting owner. The stakes are large—and not just for worker co-op advocates. Indeed, literally millions of […]

Shareable – New York City to Make Historic Investment in Worker Cooperatives

From Shareable: The Big Apple got behind cooperatives in a small, yet historic way this past month with the adoption of a budget that includes a $1.2 million dollar fund to support the development of worker owned cooperatives. That $1.2 million is the largest investment in worker cooperative by a US city to date shows […]