Over 150,000 companies are candidates for ESOPs. These companies are large enough, profitable enough, and have business owners who are 55 years or older, and federal tax incentives mean that ESOPs are a potentially viable strategy for them. The National Center for Employee Ownership estimates that roughly 10,000 to 15,000 of these companies transfer ownership each year.
A recent study by the Estate Planning Institute found that only 30% of these businesses have a written succession plan. And only 6% have considered employee ownership as an option. We believe that if they truly understand the benefits of employee ownership, more entrepreneurs will choose it as an exit.
That’s where our work comes in. Our strategy is to develop a national network of state centers: local, financially sustainable agencies that teach business owners about the value of employee ownership. Our model for this is the Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership, which over just two years has engaged over 1,300 individuals, over 100 partner organizations, and over 70 businesses inquiring about next steps. Five of the 70 have begun their conversion to employee ownership.
With your help, by 2025 we aim to have state centers covering 70% of the country.