Thousands celebrate with a smile for EO Day while data reports reveal sector growth

Thousands of employee owners across the UK are celebrating their employee ownership status today for Employee Ownership Day (EO Day), an annual, national date in the calendar, which highlights the collective strength and achievements of the UK’s employee ownership sector.

Some 370 employee-owned businesses in the UK contribute over £30bn to UK GDP every year and includes businesses such as John Lewis and Partners, Lush Cosmetics, Aardman Animations, Riverford Organics and Richer Sounds.

The growth of the sector in 2018 was 18.6% – its best year yet.

To mark EO Day, the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), the national membership organisation representing the collective voice of employee-owned businesses in the UK, has published two new reports: The White Rose Centre for Employee Ownership survey report and the annual EOA Top 50 Report.

Both reports reflect the continued growth of the employee ownership sector and its impact on the UK economy. The findings from these two new reports complement the findings of last year’s Ownership Dividend report, which was published following a year-long national inquiry into employee-owned businesses in the UK. The final report illustrated how the employee ownership sector can provide the positive solutions needed to face many of the key challenges currently facing the UK economy

Find the latest research here

Deb Oxley OBE, Chief Executive of the EOA, said:

“This EO Day we celebrate how employee ownership positively impacts an individual’s sense of happiness and wellbeing at work, as well as releasing compelling evidence that shows increased growth for employee ownership in the UK – demonstrating that it is a sector that is ‘doing well whilst doing good’. With the great momentum created by high profile transitions such as Riverford Organics and Richer Sounds being universally welcomed by politicos, business organisations and commentators alike, it feels like we are at a tipping point for the sector.

“Evidence in the Ownership Dividend report shows that if the government were to invest in growing the number of businesses in the UK that give employees a stake and a say in the businesses they work within, it would contribute to a more inclusive economy with benefits for individuals, businesses and the impact of more resilient regional economies.”

EO Day in 2019 is sponsored by Gripple and celebrates the happiness and well-being of employee owners at work by asking those who are employee owned or who support the case for more employee ownership in the UK to celebrate and spread an EO smile.

Ed Stubbs, Managing Director of Gripple, said:

“In our 30th year of trading, we have a proven model for sustainable growth, driven by our people – more than 700 employee owners across 10 global locations.

“We have sponsored EO Day because of the three things that we will be celebrating with a smile; that we drive success together; our focus on people and culture, which drives our growth and innovation and how we invest for the future as custodians of this business for future generations. Who knows what we will achieve in the next 30 years!”

To demonstrate the social return on investment that employee-owned businesses are able to provide, the EOA recently partnered with employee-owned social enterprise Community Dental Services, to launch the Give a Healthy Smile campaign. The campaign is aiming to raise £40,000 to address tooth decay in children in the UK, which is the leading cause of hospital admissions for children aged between 5-9[1].

The EOA also celebrates its 40th anniversary this year alongside many businesses making their transition to employee ownership this week. These include communications agency Torchbox, financial planning firm Paradigm Norton and independent pension trustee company BESTrustees.

[1] 26,111 children admitted to hospital due to dental disease 2017-18 NHS Digital’s Hospital Admitted Patient Care Activity: