Discover how the EO Knowledge Programme has evidenced the impacts of UK employee ownership and underpins the work of the eoa to elevate and advocate for the thriving EO sector. 

The EO Knowledge Programme provides a new understanding of the impact of the nation's vibrant EO sector. It also offers the opportunity for business to bolster and measure their impacts. 

We commissioned independent think tank, Ownership at Work, to deliver three research-led projects to help unlock the full potential of people powered business.

Together, these support how we represent members, influence policy, and inform and evolve our support to the EO community to deliver Great EO.


Principle partners:
Howden, John Lewis Partnership, Mott Macdonald, and Scott Bader 

Supporting partners:
Fieldfisher, Glide, Gripple, Loadhog, Make, and RM2 

Research and strategy partners:
WPI Economics, djs Research, and Telos Partners 

This work would not have been possible without our EO Knowledge Partners - representatives from employee owned businesses who have agreed to being contacted for this and future research projects. 

Sign up to be a Knowledge Partner for future Great EO research.

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People Powered Growth Report


James de le Vingne, 
CEO of the eoa

The UK is leading the world in the speed of growth of employee ownership, with countries such as Canada, Australia and Denmark amongst others looking to learn from UK policy and practice.

Importantly, the recent dramatic rise in numbers of employee owned businesses was activated by a policy intervention – the 2014 introduction of the new Employee Ownership Trust model (EOT) – and has been significantly accelerated through awareness raising and iconic new converts over the past 10 years.

In October 2023, we can celebrate a thriving sector of over 1,650 businesses who are driven to succeed every day by a powerful combination of sharing meaningful ownership and participation with employees and workers.

Employee and worker owned businesses (EOBs) are succeeding in every corner of the economy and increasingly include newer household names like Go Ape, Aardman Animations and Riverford Organics alongside long-established brands like Scott Bader and the John Lewis Partnership. However, when asked to demonstrate EOBs’ impact at the level of the whole economy, for too long the sector has simply pointed at individual exemplar businesses as sufficient proof. The harder evidence has been missing. Until now.

In 2022, the eoa commissioned independent think tank Ownership at Work to deliver the sector’s most ambitious research project to date and find out what is happening within these hundreds and hundreds of newly employee owned businesses.

The EO Knowledge Programme establishes a new baseline in our understanding of the scale and impact of employee and worker ownership in the UK, contrasting EOBs with non-EOBs for the first time across economic, social and environmental outcomes.

The findings are remarkable. They clearly show that this small section of the UK economy is punching above its weight across multiple dimensions of impact on individuals, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

We need to build on these foundations. The eoa and its membership is calling on politicians, policymakers and investors to sit up and take notice. We need more proactive interventions to grow numbers of employee owned businesses, mobilise more private sector capital into this sector and super-charge the kind of responsible productivity our country so sorely needs. Together we can make it happen!

The EO Knowledge Programme has published 'People Powered Growth', a summary of impact findings, and exploring the potential of the employee owned business model, a detailed research report brought together by WPI Economics with additional input from DJS Research.

Read People Powered Growth

Explore the EO Knowledge Programme


Executive Summary

Breakdown of Findings


Research Methodology

Download Full Report

Delivery of the EO Knowledge Programme is led by independent think tank, Ownership at Work

Read the longer report from WPI Economics

Read the guide to effective & impactful practice from djs research