Business leaders back employee ownership

inspireeo__largeAround 150 delegates gathered in Edinburgh yesterday for the first Inspire EO Scotland conference.

Here, some of the event’s keynote speakers discuss the benefits of employee ownership and how it can help to boost the Scottish economy.

Inspire EO Scotland, organised in collaboration between John Lewis, RBS and Scottish Enterprise, was designed for new and existing businesses keen to learn more about employee ownership.

It took place as new research from the University of Stirling shows that there are 71 employee-owned businesses operating in Scotland, with approximately 6,500 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of around £900million.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, believes the figures show the Scottish employee ownership sector is performing strongly. He said: “It is encouraging to see the growth of employee ownership in Scotland and the recognition of the benefits it can offer – including higher levels of employee engagement and productivity, higher profitability and greater levels of innovation. At the John Lewis Partnership, we take pride in the fact that as owners, our Partners are highly engaged and are involved in the future of the business.”

Dr Lena Wilson CBE, Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise, said: “These latest figures reinforce that employee ownership is a growing phenomenon with more and more businesses recognising the importance of succession planning and the benefits this innovative business model offers.  This is good news for Scotland because wider collaboration and co-ownership is proven to create jobs faster and boost productivity and performance. We would encourage owners to consider succession at the earliest possible opportunity and find out more about employee ownership.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney, said: “Employee ownership can have powerful positive effects – not only on employee motivation and wellbeing but ultimately on the bottom-line. I am encouraged that an increasing number of Scottish companies are benefitting from this business model. I would encourage interested companies to engage with Co-operative Development Scotland and learn what employee ownership could do for them.”

Alison Rose, CEO, Commercial & Private Banking, RBS, said: “RBS supports more UK small businesses than any other bank so we were delighted to host the Inspire EO conference. Employee ownership can be a highly effective way to engage staff and run a successful business.”

Read Sir Charlie Mayfield’s article on employee ownership from this week’s Scotland on Sunday.

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