A paper has been released trailing research on a once in a generation opportunity to increase the number of employee and worker owned businesses, and to capitalise on the boost to the economy these models provide. The paper, ‘Recognising the opportunity for increased employee and worker ownership in the UK’, outlines the initial findings from the upcoming report ‘Generation EO: The Great Employee Ownership Succession Opportunity’, which sought to quantify the scale and impact of a potential ‘large wave’ of Baby Boomer business owners exiting their companies.

Whilst acknowledging the risk to the economy if ignored – with a number of these businesses likely to be closed or liquidated – the paper also posits the potential opportunity this unprecedented number of business exits could create if more was done to encourage employee ownership as a succession option. Incorporating insights from the recently published report ‘People Powered Growth’, the paper details how employee ownership leads to a stronger, higher skilled, more resilient economy, and outlines the support needed from policymakers to maximise the number of business vendors choosing this responsible, productive succession option.

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, workers.coop, Co-operative Development Scotland and Cwmpas. 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.