Solutions

Start inclusive ownership funds

Start inclusive ownership funds

An economic heartbeat that transfers the ownership and control of businesses to workers and other key stakeholders.

To see growth in co-operation and the democratisation of business, we need to transform the hostile economic environment into one that is conducive. This could be achieved through an Inclusive Ownership Fund into which shareholder- and privately-owned businesses transfer a small amount of profit each year in the form of equity.

An Inclusive Ownership Fund would ensure that over time and in all businesses, the ownership and control of workers and other designated stakeholders would grow. This could be achieved by:

  • Mandating the transfer of the equity of firms into an Inclusive Ownership fund, with formally designated stakeholders, annually and at a low level
    or
  • By incentivising this transfer through the business tax system
    or
  • Using both approaches: mandating at a low level and incentivising to allow some business to opt for a more rapid transfer

Over time — like a beating heart in the economy — these funds would reach a tipping point, at which time employees could opt to take various forms of control over the running of the business. Prior to that, steps could be built into the fund that would see incremental improvements in worker or wider stakeholder participation when the fund reached certain levels.

The Inclusive Ownership fund would create more businesses as employee-owned partnerships sharing the wealth they create and involving employees and other stakeholders in decision making.

Policy in practice

Projects that demonstrate the benefits or may be helped by polices like this.

  • Suma Wholefoods
    Suma, Europe’s largest equal-pay co-op, recently celebrated its 40th birthday.
  • Schools’ Energy Co-operative
    Schools’ Energy Co-operative has installed solar panels on schools across the country, working with a network of local groups.
  • Equal Care Co-op
    Co-op matches those seeking care with care workers and professionally trained volunteers.
  • Aardman
    Founders of UK’s biggest animation company handed 75% share to employees to ‘safeguard independence’.
  • The Larder
    This workers' co-operative connects local growers with businesses in the fightback against food poverty.
  • Novograf
    Former owners sold leading signage company to its workforce.
  • Riverford Organics
    Riverford switched to employee ownership to protect its values and independence in 2018.
  • Richer Sounds
    Founder Julian Richer transferred 60% of his shares into a John Lewis-style trust.
  • YnNi Teg
    YnNi Teg develops and builds renewable energy generators in Wales, funded by community shares.
  • Space4
    Space4 is a co-working space for social enterprises and worker co-operatives in the digital tech sector.