At the Wales Co-operative Centre we believe that as individuals we are stronger when we act together. We concentrate on factors that bind us together as opposed to issues that divide us and pull us apart. For 35 years we have put co-operation at the heart of everything we do.
We develop projects that bring people together to help them find solutions to the issues they face on a daily basis. Part of our work has included setting up hundreds of multi-stakeholder businesses in the form of co-operatives, social enterprises and employee owned businesses.
We currently deliver Social Business Wales, a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government, which is part of the Business Wales service. As part of this project we want to strengthen the social business sector in Wales by helping established social enterprises and co-operatives to grow. If you are running an existing childcare social enterprise or co-operative and are looking to expand, then please get in touch.
Another aim of Social Business Wales is to promote employee ownership to private sector businesses as they plan their succession. Many business owners do not adequately plan for succession, often relying on a trade sale that may or may not be forthcoming. We certainly can’t afford to lose any childcare businesses in Wales, so it’s important that business owners consider what will happen to their business when they want to take a step back.
Employee ownership is a business approach that offers business growth and a reliable, phased exit strategy for owners. It offers employees the opportunity to take control of their own destinies and safeguard sustainable employment in their own communities. Employee ownership is growing at an annual rate of just under 10% and the sector already contributes £30bn to the UK economy annually.
In recent years we have seen the benefits that employee ownership has brought to Welsh businesses such as Aber Instruments, Primepac Solutions, Caffi Florence and Gateway Dental Practice. These are very different businesses operating in different sectors in different parts of Wales but with one thing in common – they are all owned by the people that work for them.
Childcare businesses are labour intense and rely heavily on the dedication and commitment of front line staff. Employee ownership would bring this dedication and commitment to the core ownership of the business.
People involved in employee owned businesses generally feel that team members are more engaged and productive. For example:
- Absenteeism at John Lewis is 3.4%, less than half the retail sector average
- Average length of service at John Lewis is 7 years
- 81% of Partners rate the Partnership as a great place to work
We believe that team members who are also part owners are more likely throw all of their energy and passion into making the business a success. It must be a very empowering feeling to leave work on a Friday as an employee and return on a Monday as an employee/owner.
Employee ownership lends itself to growth. Employee owned businesses still need to make a profit, but their ownership structure allows those in charge to make decisions that reflect the wishes of its employees and consequently, develop sustainable, incremental growth. Profit is still important, but utilising that profit to invest in innovation and growth and to reward those people who have a real commitment to a business is what makes employee ownership stand out as a building block to a stronger, sustainable economy. There are also potential Capital Gains Tax benefits for the exiting owner if they look at an employee ownership trust route.
If you currently run a childcare business and are planning your succession then come and talk to us about the option of employee ownership.
Social Business Wales is home to Wales’ leading experts in employee ownership. If you would like to speak to one of our business advisers to discuss the opportunities employee ownership could offer you and your business, please contact us via the website Social Business Wales or by calling 03000 6 03000, (ask for Social Business Wales). We will be pleased to speak to you on a no obligation basis to discuss whether employee ownership is a suitable option for you.
Social Business Wales is funded by Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund. It is delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre and is part of the Business Wales service.