DENVER - The Colorado Employee Ownership Office (EOO) at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) is launching a new grant that is open to Colorado-headquartered small businesses to reimburse professional technical services required for the employee ownership transition.
Professional services eligible for reimbursement include accounting, legal and business valuation services. The grant may also be used to repay the Colorado Employee Ownership Loan for businesses that previously received the loan for their transition.
The most common forms of employee ownership are cooperative (COOP) and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). However, this grant encourages all employee ownership models such as phantom stock, stock appreciation, profits interest, stock options, restricted stock, etc. A business is considered a Colorado Employee Owned Company using any employee ownership model that offers an ownership stake to at least 20% of their employees.
“The Employee Ownership Trial Grant increases the potential of conversions across Colorado. With this grant established, there will be more opportunity offered to business owners that have considered the benefits of employee ownership and seek to take advantage of it,” said Glenn Plagens, business support and rural prosperity director at OEDIT.
Eligibility requirements include the business being Colorado-based and the employee ownership model offers an ownership stake of at least 20% of the company’s workforce. Applicants must also be already actively engaged with service providers to transition to an employee ownership model.
The grant is $3,000 and the application will be open until the funds are gone or until 5pm on February 26, 2021, whichever occurs first. The grant funding will be available for up to 20 Colorado businesses in the first round. Awardees will be granted funds, as a reimbursement, based upon the completion of their employee ownership transition by 5 pm on May 28, 2021.
The Colorado Employee Ownership Office has a dedicated staff and programs to ensure growth and success of employee ownership in Colorado. In addition to the grant and loan program, other services offered by the Employee Ownership Office are consulting and certification.
Employee ownership offers business owners a ready, willing and able buyer to their firm, can offer substantial federal tax benefits and can serve as a key part of an owner’s succession plan.