California’s North Coast SBDC partners with Project Equity to prepare for boom in employee ownership

The North Coast Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a nonprofit serving small businesses in California’s far coastal northwest: Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, and Adjacent Tribal Lands. North Coast SBDC helps businesses start, grow, and thrive with one-to-one consulting and learning programs. 

North Coast SBDC has partnered with Project Equity to get ready for two changes confronting all SBDCs: a massive wave of baby boomer business owners wanting to retire, and new federal legislation instructing SBDCs to actively support employee ownership. 

Small Business Development Centers across the United States are about to be part of a boom in employee ownership.

According to North Coast SBDC’s director Leila Roberts, 

“New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, with strong bipartisan support, buried a gift to our clients in last year’s defense authorization bill. The 2018 Main Street Employee Ownership Act instructs the Small Business Administration and all Small Business Development Centers to modernize their support for employee-owned businesses. If we are going to help our small business clients realize the potential of this new legislation, we and SBDCs across the nation need to get ready now.”

What is the North Coast SBDC doing to prepare?

North Coast SBDC has partnered with Project Equity to help it integrate employee ownership conversion into its 2019 Business Succession Program. Project Equity is delivering a series of webinars and on-site workshops to business owners and business advisors, as well as helping prepare North Coast SBDC advisors and local stakeholders to support employee ownership conversions in the years to come. 

Project Equity’s partnership is critical to North Coast SBDC’s goal to generate enthusiasm in the local business and economic development community about using employee ownership succession as a tool to retain viable local businesses as Boomer owners retire.

What do SBDCs need to do to be ready?

It’s important for all SBDCs to be able to identify businesses that could be candidates for employee ownership. Project Equity specializes in creating or transitioning employee-owned companies and can help SBDCs understand the implications of the 2018 Main Street Employee Ownership Act, uncover myths and realities of employee ownership, and outline the strategies their small business clients could leverage in order to transition to employee ownership. 

Project Equity’s aim is to help Small Business Development Centers create employee ownership education services relevant to their small business community, and learn how to spot businesses that could be a fit for employee ownership succession.

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