Four Companies Successfully Convert to Employee Ownership with Colorado Employee Ownership Grant

The Colorado Employee Ownership Office, a division of Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), announces four employee ownership conversions from round three of the Employee Ownership Grant.

The Employee Ownership Grant launched in 2021 to provide Colorado-headquartered small businesses with funding to reimburse professional technical service expenses incurred when transitioning to employee ownership. Businesses that applied for this program and successfully converted to an employee ownership structure offering at least 20% of the company’s equity to employees received a $3,000 grant to cover conversion expenses, including accounting, legal, business valuation and other technical services.

In January, four businesses that participated in the grant successfully converted to an employee-owned structure:

  • Davinci Sign Systems, Inc., Windsor (Employee Stock Ownership Plan)
  • Enduro Bites, Colorado Springs (Direct Stock Grant)
  • Fancy Tiger Crafts, Denver (Cooperative)
  • Mile High Audio Video, Englewood (Restricted Stock Plan)

“One barrier that businesses face in converting to employee ownership is transition costs. Our goal is to mitigate this barrier via this program and the new Employee Ownership Tax Credit Program,” said Nikki Maloney, Interim Director of Business Support and Rural Prosperity at OEDIT. “The Employee Ownership Grant program has four cycles in 2022, with each round open to up to 20 converting businesses. Our goal is to make the process more accessible, so more Coloradans can start experiencing the many benefits that come from employee-ownership.”

The Employee Ownership Office is offering four grant rounds in 2022 for businesses to participate in the program. Round two opens for applications on April 4 until May 6, with a successful conversion required by June 17 to be awarded funds. To receive funding, each round requires that businesses complete their transition by the deadline stated on the Employee Ownership Grant webpage.

Businesses in the early stages of conversion are also encouraged to explore the Employee Ownership Tax Credit program, which is available to Colorado-headquartered businesses converting to either an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, Worker Owned Cooperative or Employee Ownership Trust. The program offers tax credits based on the structure type to cover up to 50% of a qualified business’ conversion costs for use on their state income taxes.

Visit the Colorado Employee Ownership Office’s website to learn more about employee ownership, consulting services, open programs and funding opportunities.

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