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Cooperative Conversion and Employee Ownership
Business Succession and Retention: Employee Ownership
April 20, 2017 in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin
Attend this workshop presented by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives to learn about employee ownership as an effective method for keeping businesses, jobs, and wealth in local communities.
Over the next two decades, an estimated 70 percent of privately held
businesses will change hands, many as a result of retiring baby boomers. Who
will take over these business and will they remain in their communities?
Converting businesses to employee or consumer ownership is gaining traction as an effective method for
retaining businesses, jobs, and wealth in local communities.
conversions can take many forms including transitioning to a
worker cooperative, a consumer cooperative, or an Employee Stock Ownership
Plan (ESOP). If you’re interested in learning more about converting a business to employee or consumer ownership, please contact Courtney Berner at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 890-0966.
Successful Cooperative Ownership Transitions: Case Studies on the Conversion of Privately Held Businesses to Worker Cooperatives
by University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperative and Democracy at Work
Technical Service and Professional Services Providers for Employee
Owned Businesses in the Upper Midwest
Converting Existing Business to Worker Cooperatives, an interview with
Melissa Hoover from the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives
Startup Resources for Worker
Cooperatives Democracy at Work Institute/US Federation of Worker
In Good Company: The Guide to Cooperative Employee Ownership by Margaret
Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives: Insights and Readiness Factors
for Owners and Employees by Alison Ligane and Shannon Rieger
Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale by Hilary Abell
Buying a Business to Start a Co-op: A Case Study of Food Co-op Conversions
by Patricia Cumbie
Examples of Successful Conversions to Employee
Four Star Video Cooperative
is a Madison-based worker cooperative that offers a diverse video rental
library that focuses on foreign language, anime, independent and documentary
Isthmus Engineering and
Manufacturing is a worker cooperative that specializes in custom
automation solutions and equipment
Namaste Solar is a
Colorado-based employee owned cooperative that designs, installs, and maintains
solar electric systems.
Realityworks, Inc. is an Eau
Claire-based company that produces experiential learning technology that gives
users life like experience through their simulations. Realityworks successfully
converted to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) structure.
Terra Firma Building and Remodeling
is a custom remodeling company serving the Twin Cities metropolitan area that
converted to a worker cooperative structure.
A Yard & a Half Landscaping is a
worker cooperative that provides organic landscaping services
Wisconsin Natural Heritage Cooperative is a worker cooperative that
collects, analyzes and manages rare species data.
Examples of Succesful Conversion to Consumer Cooperative Ownership
Honey Creek Market is a consumer owned grocery
store in Plain, Wisconsin.
Old Creamery Co-op, Cummington,
Placerville Natural Foods Co-op,
UWCC convened the seminar Employee Ownership: A Business Retention Strategy on April 8th in Madison, Wisconsin. The event brought together over 40 economic developers and business owners who learned more about the different employee ownership
structures and how they can used in their communities. The seminar featured a panel of representatives from employee owned firms including Namasté Solar CEO Blake Jones, Realityworks CFO Mary Stenvig, and Marty Ruddy, the founder and co-owner of Terra Firma Building and Remodeling. Panelists described the motivation for converting their business to employee ownership and how the transition has affected their company’s structure, culture, and bottom line. Participants also heard from economic developers, cooperative developers, attorneys, and consultants who have helped structure business conversions. The event concluded with a tour of Isthmus Engineering and Manufacturing, a worker cooperative that specializes in custom automation solutions and equipment. Presentations from the event can be accessed by clicking on the speakers name.