Project Equity and Shared Capital Launch Accelerate Employee Ownership

On September 5th, 2019, Project Equity and Shared Capital unveiled a new collaborative initiative, Accelerate Employee Ownership, at a public launch event in Long Beach, CA. 

Accelerate Employee Ownership initiative leaders, Alison Lingane, Co-Founder, Project Equity and Christina Jennings, Executive Director, Shared Capital Cooperative, welcome guests to the launch event.

Accelerate Employee Ownership supports the sale of businesses to their employees by retiring business owners, and was seeded with a $5 million investment from the Quality Jobs Fund. It helps ensure that small businesses, their jobs, and their local economic impact are retained in communities and that workers have quality employment and career advancement.

Evan Edwards, Director, Strategic Partnerships and Business Engagement, Project Equity.

This innovative initiative provides pre-to-post transactional support for Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and worker cooperative transitions, paired with tailored, flexible and affordable financing. It is one of the most comprehensive efforts in the country to boost employee ownership, creating a path to business ownership for individuals in low to middle wage jobs.

Hilary Abell, Co-Founder, Project Equity interviews Carolyn Berke, Former Sole Proprietor / Employee-Owner, Niles Pie Company, and Ren Boguiren, Employee-Owner, A Slice of New York.

The launch event included introductions from the Quality Jobs Fund / New World Foundation and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and as well as two panels.

The first panel included selling business owners and employee-owners (Carolyn Berke of Niles Pie and Ren Boguiren of A Slice of New York) to discuss the impact on their lives and their businesses. During the panel discussion, Ren summed up his experience by saying, “If you want to build a transformative workplace, employee ownership is the way to do it.”

James Alva, Citi Community Development, Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, LA LISC, and John Keisler, City of Long Beach.

The other panel consisted of Project Equity’s Long Beach Partners to discuss the impact at the community level (John Keisler, City of Long Beach Economic Development Director, Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, Executive Director of LISC-LA,  and James Alva, Senior Vice President and Southern California Market Manager at Citibank.)

Businesses that work with Project Equity to transition to employee ownership are eligible to apply for financing through Accelerate Employee Ownership. These transitioning businesses receive expert advice and support from Project Equity and specialized small business financing through Shared Capital.

Christina Jennings, Evan Edwards, Tom Dapice (Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco), Alison Lingane, Noah Bernstein (New World Foundation), Marietta Nunez (Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco), Hilary Abell and Mark Fick (Shared Capital Cooperative).

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