It was a great start to 2023 for employee ownership as three Scottish businesses implemented an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), safeguarding the long-term future of their companies, retaining jobs, skills and investment. We caught up with Clare Alexander, Head of Co-operative Development Scotland, to find out more.
SVM Glasgow, Stoneywood Care Services in Denny and Oliver Chapman Architects in Edinburgh have all made the move to employee ownership since the start of 2023. Our team were pleased to be involved in the early stages of the process for each by providing advice and support via a 100% funded ownership succession review and employee ownership feasibility study.
SVM Glasgow is an engineering service design firm which specialises in the rail industry. It employs 14 people, all of whom have joined the newly-formed Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). The current owner, Craig Thomas, considered various exit options, but employee ownership was the clear preference as it allowed them to maintain the legacy of the business while enabling senior staff members to further develop their skillsets, manage the business for themselves and ultimately reap the rewards of their efforts as shareholders.
Social care provider Stoneywood Care Services is now 100% employee owned, with all 107 employees having a stake in the business. All exit strategies were explored for selling the business, but after attending several presentations with our team the current owners, Ian Howie and Mary Reid, decided employee ownership was the best option. The employees were supportive of the idea and happy a trade sale was avoided as they felt could cost Stoneywood its identity. They’re also happy to have a voice on the future of the company and feel included in major decisions, with business ownership staying in the local area.
Oliver Chapman Architects has handed all 6 employees a stake in the business. Company Director Oliver Chapman was looking at how to make the business more resilient and employee ownership just made sense for him. He was aware of other architectural and engineering practices making the same decision in recent years, and our case studies showed that it was a good option in terms of employee engagement and a stable transition of ownership.
Based on recent enquiries, we expect to see interest in employee ownership continue to grow during 2023. Consistently our discussions with our clients show their desires to retain their unique identity and purpose, secure a future in the local community and reward their loyal teams – at the same time as increasing their profits.
Welcoming these three very different companies to the employee ownership fold at the beginning of 2023 really demonstrates that employee ownership can work for businesses of all shapes and sizes. It’s an increasingly popular choice among socially conscious firms who recognise the need to do things differently in the current challenging environment.
Employee ownership gives employees a meaningful stake in their organisation together with a genuine say in how it’s run. Employee-owned businesses (EOBs) are also more resilient than non-employee-owned businesses during times of economic crisis, as well as being more profitable, more productive and having greater staff engagement.
The company transitions were project-managed by 4-Consulting and Co-ownership Solutions with legal services from Blackadders and financial inputs from Douglas Brotherston and Sharles
To find out more about our support to become an employee-owned business, please visit our pages on the Scottish Enterprise website.