The Colorado Employee Ownership Trial Grant is available to Colorado-headquartered small businesses to pay for the reimbursement of professional technical services required to transition your business to become a Colorado Employee Owned Company. Professional services covered by this grant include accounting, legal, business valuation, and technical services. The grant may also be used to repay the Colorado Employee Ownership Loan.
You will be required to actively work with service providers to transition to an employee ownership structure. Eligible employee ownership structures include any model offering an employee ownership stake to at least 20% of your employees.
To apply for the grant, your business needs to:
- be actively engaged with service provider(s) to transition to an employee ownership model or have already transitioned your business to an employee ownership model between December 1, 2020 to May 28, 2021
- be headquartered in Colorado
- be in operation for at least one year, or are a newly formed cooperative
- have at least three full-time employees
- have annual net revenue of $3 million or less
- offer an ownership stake to at least 20% of employees
Types of employee ownership models that qualify include, but are not limited to:
- profits interest
- phantom stock
- stock appreciation rights
- stock options
- restricted stock
- employee stock ownership plans
Eligible expenses include:
- legal services
- accounting services
- business valuation services that are required to add an employee ownership model to your business
- technical assistance
Ineligible expenses include:
- expenses that have been or will be reimbursed under any other program
- losses that have been or will be covered under any other program
The application for this program will be open until 5pm on February 26, or until funds are gone. This grant funding will be available for up to 20 Colorado businesses in this first round. This is a first-come, first-served grant cycle--if you miss the deadline to apply for this round, we encourage you to apply for a future grant cycle.
Application process and materials
First time users will need to register for an account in the application portal to begin the application process. Please note, the application portal may take up to 48 hours to activate your account, so please leave time to create your account and access it before the application period closes.
Once you have created your account or logged in, you will need to navigate to the Employee Ownership Office section in the application portal. The application portal allows users to save progress and return to the application, however we recommend having the completed forms and information ready before you begin. The application will take about 30 minutes to complete.
The following documents are required and must be uploaded in the application portal. You can either scan these or photograph them with a smartphone:
- PDF of letter of good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office
- signatures and attestations document – requires a signature from a C-level member of your organization
Applicants will be considered based on effectively meeting the eligibility requirements. We will also consider the number of jobs retained and your ability to complete the transition by the May 28, 2021 deadline.
Not all applicants who apply are guaranteed a grant. The round may close early in advance of 5 pm on February 26, 2021 if all 20 grants have already been awarded.
Awardees will be granted funds, as a reimbursement, once they finish their employee ownership transition. You must have completed the transition by May 28, 2021 by 5 pm. Receipts from professional technical services rendered will be required for reimbursement in addition to one or more of the following:
- updated operating agreement
- official legal demonstration of the transition
- formal registration of new structure with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office
To receive the reimbursement payment, you will need to submit the Employee Ownership Grant Awardee Report to document the completion of the employee ownership model by May 28, 2021. Additional reporting will be required in the second quarter of 2022 and 2023 through a similar google form. The report will be sent to the business contact provided.
Awardees will receive funds, if granted, through an electronic funds transfer (EFT). Our office will request a W-9 form an EFT approval form, and a scanned copy of a voided check in order to set up your account for the transfer. After your organization has been approved in our accounting system and your invoice processed, you will see the funds in your account within 45 business days.