DENVER – The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced yesterday, in celebration of Employee Ownership Month, the establishment of a permanent Employee Ownership Office (EOO) and the launch of several new initiatives.
“Much like our Minority Business Office, the new Employee Ownership Office will have dedicated staff and programs to ensure the growth and success of employee ownership in Colorado,” said Glenn Plagens, business support and rural prosperity director at OEDIT.
Among the services offered by the new Employee Ownership Office are consulting, certification and an employee ownership loan program.
The Employee Ownership Navigator will consult with business owners to answer questions they may have about becoming an employee-owned company. We offer confidential consultations to learn about employee ownership options (ESOP, Coop, broad-based profit sharing, etc.). They can also connect you with vetted technical service providers for initial guidance.
The Colorado Employee Owned Certification is for businesses offering employee ownership to 20 percent or more of its employees. Certified businesses will be included in future statewide branding campaigns, are eligible for future programs, be among the first to receive important information from the office and may be listed on the OEDIT website. The certification lets the community know the business is locally owned and operated, and supporting the business further supports the community.
If a business is already offering employee ownership to 20% or more of its employees, they are encouraged to join OEDIT's efforts by registering with the Colorado Employee Ownership Office. The office currently offers a loan program and will be rolling out a new grant and other programming in the coming months.
As a record number of Colorado business owners reach retirement age, increasing the number of employee-owned businesses across the state ensures that local businesses will continue to offer necessary goods and services to communities beyond a business owner’s retirement.
Employee ownership offers business owners a ready, willing and able buyer for their firm, can offer substantial federal tax benefits and can serve as a key part of an owner succession plan.