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 January 1, 2021 and 5pm on August 27, 2021
- be headquartered in Colorado
- be in operation for at least one year, or are a newly formed cooperative
- have at least 3 full-time employees (or 3 members if a cooperative)
- have annual net revenue of $5 million or less
- offer an ownership stake to at least 20% of employees
If you have any questions about whether you are eligible, please contact the program manager below.
Types of employee ownership structures 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 structure 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 is now open and will remain open until June 4, or all grants have been awarded, whichever occurs first.
Application process and materials
First-time users will need to register for an account in our 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 are 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 conversion deadline for that round of grant funding.
Not all applicants who apply are guaranteed a grant. The round may close early in advance of application deadline if all grant funds have already been awarded.
You must complete your conversion and provide documentation by 5pm on August 27, 2021 to receive the reimbursement. Receipts from professional technical services rendered will be required for reimbursement. You will also need to provide one or more of the following formal documents for proof of conversion offering ownership to at least 20% of employees:
- updated operating agreement
- legal documentation of structure changes
- formal registration of new structure with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office
Awardees will be granted the $3,000 grant funds as a reimbursement. Please note, you will first need to pay for all services required for your conversion and then will report your employee ownership transition to us by the designated deadline. At that point, the grant will be distributed to you as reimbursement upon meeting all criteria.
To receive the reimbursement payment, you will need to submit the Employee Ownership Grant Conversion Annual Report by August 27, 2021 at 5pm. The report will be sent to the business contact provided. An annual report, or supplementally a phone interview, will also be required for the second quarter of 2022 and 2023 to track the impact of employee ownership on your business. If you have questions about the reporting requirement, please contact our program manager below.
For recipients of the previous round of grant funding and a conversion deadline of May 28, 2021, please complete the Colorado Employee Ownership Grant Awardee Report via this form.
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.