Inspire EO

Representatives from a wide range of business and public service organisations joined together today for Inspire EO – a conference specifically designed for those who want to find out more about employee ownership.

Beginning the conference proceedings, Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chair of the John Lewis Partnership and President of the EOA, said: “Interest in employee ownership is rising, it is a good way to run a business and it encourages the right kind of behaviour within a business. Plurality of business ownership models is good for the economy, good for society and employee ownership has a significant part to play. There has never been a better time for businesses to make the move to employee ownership.”

Speaking at the event, Francis Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “Employee owned firms consistently demonstrate good performance through good and bad, they have the grit and determinism our economy needs.” He acknowledged that in terms of employee ownership the surface had only been scratched and there was a commitment to treble the sector’s current contribution “from 3% to 10%”.  He went on to highlight that it was in the public sector where employee ownership could make a significant difference in the form of public sector spin-outs or mutuals. It was about  “unlocking innovation, enabling people to do things and seeing how it can be done..I see no reason why we should not see one million people working in public service mutuals. ”

Delegates had the opportunity to question a wealth of industry experts, advisors and speakers on their insights into how employee ownership can be a better way of doing business. Conference sessions covered; financing employee ownership and the recent tax incentives available; leadership and employee engagement; starting out and converting to employee ownership and public service mutuals.

Attendees also had the chance to hear recent case study examples from a number of businesses who had transitioned into employee ownership in the last few months.

Speaking on behalf of Leeds-based Union Industries, who became employee owned in November, Chief Executive, Isobel Schofield said: “Over the years we had been so busy enjoying running our business that we never really considered succession. We knew we wanted to continue to grow, innovate, expand and above all protect our people – the employee ownership model offered us this. It can be a slow and exacting process but there is help out there from organisations like the EOA whom steered us through and helped us to find the right model for us.”

For all slides and presentations from the conference visit: