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.

EO businesses and supporters will be sharing the questions that relate to why EO is the Answer, which includes a video from John Lewis Chairman Sharon White and other key figures.

Over 470 employee owned (EO) businesses in the UK contribute over £30bn to UK GDP every year including businesses such as John Lewis and Partners, Lush Cosmetics, Aardman Animations, Riverford Organics and Richer Sounds.

Despite the challenging business climate, the sector has continued to grow. The EOA is marking the day with the annual publication of its Top 50 businesses and new research developed in conjunction with the White Rose Centre.

The headlines include:

  • 28% Growth in 2019 – 50% of the growth in the sector has been since 2017
  • 100 new EO businesses since the last EO Day
  • Productivity up by 6.9% in the Top 50 EO Businesses compared to a much lower performance in the UK as a whole
  • 5 new entrants to the Top 50 – Greenwich Leisure Ltd, Seetec Business Technology Centre Ltd, Gemporia Partnership Ltd, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Ltd and First Community Health & Care CIC.

Read the full data and to download the social graphics 

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

“This EO Day we have one clear message, ‘EO is the Answer’. We know from our members that employee ownership has huge benefits for businesses and their employees, which has never been more important as we all grapple with the challenges of a global pandemic.

“The White Rose research show our biggest year of growth as we near 500 employee owned businesses, while the Top 50 shows the continued good performance of the top end of the sector. This is just part of the compelling evidence that employee ownership really could be the answer as we look at the question of how our economy can ‘Build back better’ with, resilience, equality, sustainability and productivity.”

EO Day in 2020 is sponsored by Baxendale and brings together the collective voices of employee owner throughout the UK as they unite, share their insight and experiences and highlight the many benefits that employee ownership can offer to UK businesses.

Ewan Hall, Director of Baxendale, said:

“EO Day is the opportunity to champion and celebrate the key characteristics of the successful and growing employee owned sector.

“Being employee owned for almost 40 years, and having helped more than 100 businesses to become employee owned, has given us great insight on how adopting this model of business can benefit the individual and the business as well as being a powerful force for positive economic and social change – especially in these challenging times.”

Traditionally, EO businesses throughout the UK mark EO Day by hosting physical events from seminars to workshops and staff engagement days. In light of the pandemic, these activities have moved online with a packed schedule of digital events taking place throughout the day.

Despite the current climate, the EOA membership has continued to grow, with several businesses making their transition to employee ownership this week. These include Leeds-based digital and IT consultancy Answer Digital and Leading independent transport management and car benefits provider, Knowles Associates. Meanwhile, new entry in Top50 employee owned businesses Seetec will hold its first employee council meeting on EO Day after transitioning to EO earlier this year.