How 3 cities are building equitable local economies through employee ownership

Cities across the U.S. are adding employee ownership to their toolkit.  Why?  Many leaders are recognizing the benefits of employee ownership as a strategy to:

  • Retain local businesses, jobs, and tax base as more than half of local business owners are nearing retirement and without many options to sell their business.  

  • Provide meaning pathways to quality jobs, financial stability, and wealth building for frontline workers and workers of color

  • Help businesses better recruit, retain, and engage their workforce 

  • Create a more resilient and equitable local economy post-pandemic

Cities are supporting employee ownership in a variety of ways.

  • The City of Tucson, AZ used American Rescue Plan funds to complete a data study of the small business retention risk in their community and launch an awareness-raising campaign to educate business owners and advisors about EO.
  • The City of Berkeley, CA received national press for their 2019 investment in employee ownership to retain beloved, legacy businesses and have since added EO to their Buy Local bid preference program, their business permit application, and their revolving loan fund in addition to funding awareness and technical assistance for local businesses to transition to EO (a case study of Berkeley’s policy changes by Results for America is here).
  • The City of Chicago, IL recently made a historic $15M commitment to catalyze a sustainable economic recovery and advance economic and racial equity by investing in a variety of community wealth-building strategies, including support to build awareness and local capacity to support employee ownership transitions.

Cities play a critical role in building thriving, equitable local economies.  Reach out to Sarah McBroom, Director of Regional Engagement, to explore how to unlock the power of EO in your city.


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