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New initiative launched

Industry group will boost employee-owned firms

Auchrannie management team

Auchrannie Resort is owned by its employees


A new industry leadership group, being announced today, will receive government support to encourage more employees to take ownership of their businesses.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will confirm the establishment of ‘Scotland for EO’ when she visits the employee-owned Auchrannie resort on Arran.

Under the strapline ‘Employees CAN DO Ownership’, Scotland for EO will aim to increase the number of employee-owned businesses from about 100 to 500 by 2030.  They currently account for 7,000 individuals generating a combined turnover of around £940 million.

Scotland for EO will be backed with £75,000 of Scottish Government funding and will be co-chaired by Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills.

Evidence shows that the employee-owned model performs well in terms of productivity, inclusion and innovation. There is less likelihood of them moving operations outside Scotland.

Coinciding with a meeting of the Scottish Cabinet on Arran, Ms Sturgeon will say that employee ownership has an important role to play in building a diverse economy.

Ahead of her visit, she said: “We want to make it easier for companies and workers to find out more about this model and to move towards it if it’s right for them. Scotland for EO will help to make this into a real option for businesses across Scotland.”

John Clark, chairman of employee-owned business Novograf and member of the steering group behind the initiative, said: “We have a choice: to be passive and allow the development of a support environment for EO companies to happen without industry input, or to take a proactive approach and seek to actively influence how that environment evolves.

“We believe the proactive approach creates the prospect of making Scotland the best country in the world to establish and grow an EO business.”

The number of employee-owned businesses in Scotland has trebled in the last five years and Sarah Deas, head of Co-operative Development Scotland, said: “The appetite for employee ownership has never been greater.

“This past year we have been working on a ‘deal a month’ on average.  Our client pipeline is expanding too, indicating take-up of the model will continue to accelerate in future years. 

“Promoting employee ownership helps drive growth in the economy and create greater wealth equality in society.”

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