Looking to build on an excellent 2016

Most of you will have now have had sight of our annual review which gives an overview of successes and a focus for work in 2017 – if not you can read it here.

2016 was a fantastic year for the EOA as we continued on our journey of developing the size and impact of the employee ownership sector on the UK economy.

Throughout the year, many members shared their success stories and spread the word far and wide as they continued to enjoy accelerated growth and prosperity.

There is an exciting year ahead for the EOA and the team looks forward to hearing about the exciting plans our members have in place to make sure they build on their successes and continue to grow.

As a sector, our results from 2016 speak for themselves. The third edition of the UK Top 50 EO Businesses, compiled by EOA member RM2, provided a powerful three-year comparison of results and revealed that the combined sales figures of this important group of businesses increased by 10.2%. The top 50 EO companies combined workforce – that already stood at the impressive figure of 175,00 – has now grown by 15% over the last three years.

As businesses continue to become more aware of how an effective ownership solution can help unleash greater profitability, productivity, innovation and resilience, their stories of success are cause for celebration and have also attracted significant media attention.

For the EOA, 2016 was the year that we enjoyed our highest media profile to date, with a consistent and strong voice in the media totally more than 100 pieces of coverage across national, regional, specialist and online media. Highlights included exposure in mainstream national media such as The Times and Sky News, as well as appearances on BBC News and BBC Breakfast as we positioned how the employee owned sector can offer examples to support the Prime Minister’s drive for Corporate Governance Reform.

These figures do not take into account the media activity of our members, stakeholders and advocates across the year, which are too numerous to mention but crucial in helping us spread the word.

As coverage of employee ownership continues to grow, the EOA continues to grow with it. Our sustainability is largely based on our ability to grow and retain membership and in 2016 the EOA saw a 15% increase in inbound enquiries, resulting in 63 new. Supporting these members with the best advice and supported resulted in 21 new transitions during the same period. EOA members continue to have access to support through the five Regional Networks: South East, South West, Midlands, North and Scotland which are growing in attendance as well as our signature events.

And plans begin for the 5th EO day, once a one-day event, now grown into a fortnight  of exciting member-led activities, 2017 looks set to be a bumper year of celebrations.
2017 promises to be another milestone year for employee ownership.

As the millennial influencers, employees and entrepreneurs turn to work in the hope of not just reward, but a future that inspires innovation and growth, there is a chance to demonstrate that employee ownership is the way.

And, as the Prime Minister calls for an economy which shares wealth more fairly, the EOA working with members can capitalise on the opportunity to respond with excellent examples of good practice through responses to the Green Papers on Corporate Governance and industrial strategy.

At a time when the economy and markets are more receptive than ever before, 2017 is the greatest opportunity for the EOA to develop the member offer alongside the push to mainstream employee ownership.