City Government Toolkit
How can cities support vibrant, local economies?
Invest in employee ownership as a central part of their business retention strategy. Baby boomer retirements are real, and with boomers owning a significant portion of our locally owned companies, understanding the pending impact on business retention and having the tools to address it is critical.
Four practical steps cities can take to support employee ownership transitions
1. Track impact on small business ownership
- Track and report on small- and medium-sized business closure rates, and capture age of business or owner
- Report on years in business from city business licenses. How many businesses have been operating for 15 years or more?
- Segment based on industry / sector
2. Outreach to businesses that are over 15 years old
- Engage with businesses about succession planning and employee ownership transitions
- Forecast which businesses or sectors are likely most impacted and concentrate efforts there
- Hold site visits to discuss succession planning with key target businesses
3. Contract with succession planning resources that include employee ownership
- Engage with service providers to provide materials, seminars and hands on support for business owners that incorporates employee ownership
4. Fund technical support for businesses to sell to employees
- Fund feasibility studies
- Create a technical assistance matching fund available to transitioning businesses
Example: San Francisco “Legacy” business registry and fund
Additional ways cities can support employee ownership
Encourage employee-owned businesses to tap city procurement spending
- Track and report on city procurement spend to employee-owned businesses: dollar amount, types of products and services
- Offer incentives for employee-owned businesses within the procurement system
Offer loan guarantees or low interest or forgivable loans to support owners to sell their business to their employees
Sample ordinances to support employee ownership
Our partners, the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) has many resources and sample ordinances supporting employee ownership and worker-owned cooperatives.