New research from Ownership at Work has discovered that there are 1,781 employee and worker owned businesses (EWOBs) operating in the UK, the highest number recorded to date.

The figure is published in the new paper ‘Employee and worker ownership: changing lives and livelihoods’ which outlines the sector’s benefits, opportunities and current policy priorities. The paper also highlights the fact that the number of EWOBs has roughly doubled in the last 5 years, now growing at approximately 500 businesses per annum, making this one of the UK’s fastest growing business models.

In developing this policy paper OAW spoke to multiple bodies that provide sector leadership, support, growth and education in the UK, including the Employee Ownership Association, Co-operatives UK,, Co-operative Development Scotland and Cwmpas. The priorities they felt were most urgent for the sector are explored under four broad themes:

  • Clear political and policy leadership
  • Better business support
  • Support access to capital
  • Greater use of public sector procurement

OAW does not speak on behalf of those organisations but wants to thank each of them for allowing us to draw on their policy priorities to inform this document.

OAW are hugely grateful to the MidCounties Cooperative for their support behind the creation and publication of this series of briefing papers.