– Time is ripe for employee ownership of small businesses


Eventually, good ideas are implemented once someone understands and believes in them. This is the scenario for the recent passage of the Main Street Employee Ownership Act, which was signed into federal law on Aug. 13. In only about a year’s time, the introduction and passage of this act was met with bipartisan support from the left, who praise its goals of democratic ownership and community distribution of wealth and assets to workers, and the right’s general and broad support for the small business community as a whole.

The law expands access to Small Business Administration loan guarantees for employee stock ownership plans (or ESOPs) and worker cooperatives, creates data and reporting requirements for continued sector development, and directs technical assistance providers like the Small Business Development Centers, represented in Central New York by the Onondaga SBDC at Onondaga Community College, to provide focused training and advising services on employee ownership options. An amazing aspect to this law is that it will cost a minuscule $6 million to implement. The SBA will simply need to reconfigure its mission to include the directives. 

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