Employee-owned businesses in Scotland pass 200

Carlton Bingo staff are among the latest to switch to an EOB

Employee-owned businesses in Scotland have passed 200, making it the third largest growth area in the UK for the ownership model.

Two more companies have announced they are making the switch. Carlton Bingo has become the country’s largest employee-owned firm and a grooming company in Glasgow has also handed control to its staff.

With a presence in 10 locations, the four major shareholders in Carlton Bingo – Chris Barr, George Carter, Brian King and Peter Perrins – have created an Employee Ownership Trust.

Mr Carter said a management buyout had been an option “but that really only defers the problem of succession”.

Carole Leslie of Ownership Associates worked with directors on the programme of employee communication.

The Executive Shaving Company, a Glasgow-based online retailer of men’s wet shaving and grooming items, was guided by Cooperative Development Scotland (CDS).

The latest moves come just weeks after new census data revealed there were 195 employee-owned businesses (EOBs) in Scotland at the end of the 2021/22 financial year – with the latest transitions now bringing that total to just over 200.

The census was commissioned by CDS), which is part of Scottish Enterprise and the arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies (Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise) that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models.

Clare Alexander, head of CDS, said: “More and more Scottish businesses are transitioning to employee ownership and we’re proud to support them on that journey.

“We understand the importance of inclusive business models like EOBs and Co-ops in terms of creating a wellbeing economy where fair work, a values-driven approach and strong community links are every bit as important as profits.”T

The Scottish Government has set a target of having 500 EOBs in Scotland by 2030.”

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