How employee owned businesses flourished during the pandemic and continue to grow in popularity

Employee ownership plans give workers a piece of the pie [shutterstock]
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As you’re learning about a company, it's become more and more common to come across the phrase 'employee owned'.

But that concept still remains fairly mysterious to many of us. And no, it doesn't just mean the employees can fire their boss...

The business model is likely more familiar to those living in the west, as one third of all employee owned businesses, are in California. But the National Center for Employee Ownership only lists 6500 such firms, in the whole country.

However, the move to an employee owned business model, whether that be an Employee Stock Ownership Program, or ESOP; an Employee Trust; or a worker co-operative is becoming less rare in places like Northeast Ohio.

Reasons for the rise include the fact that people who own more than half of the country’s small businesses are over 55.
With that, many folks closing in on retirement, a new guard, a new way of thinking, and new methods of running a business are emerging.

While the COVID-19 pandemic spelled disaster for many companies, a study from Rutgers University's 'Employee Ownership Foundation' found that of 747 U.S. companies surveyed, those which were worker-owned were four times more likely to have retained staff during the pandemic.

Today, we're going to look at employee owned businesses, with some national and local perspectives.

Later in the hour we take a jump across the Atlantic, to discuss how the industrial cities of Germany - 'the Rust Belt on the Rhine' - share similarities with those cities of the Midwest.

How their progress can be a roadmap for the US, and maybe even what the recent German elections to teach us about trends in populism.


- Gene Marks, Economic Analyst, Business Owner, and contributor to The New York Times, The Philadelphia Enquirer, and The Washington Post

- Jeanette Webster, Chief Investment Officer, Evergreen Cooperatives, Founding Partner, EO Equals 

- Christopher Feran, Director of Coffee and Co-op Director, Phoenix Coffee

- Mark Cassell, Professor of Political Science, Kent State University, and Election Observer for The International Association For The Study of German Politics

- John Austin, Nonresident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institute, and Director of the Michigan Economic Center


EO Equals Campaign

The City Club Presents: "WhyRust Belts Matter Around The World"


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