Many of us in the employee ownership realm speak about the Silver Tsunami, referring to the wave of Baby Boomers in line to retire. The nuance that is often missed, is the percentage of businesses owned by African Americans and Latinx. Businesses owned by these two groups are being created at a faster clip than by any others. The unfortunate part is that they tend to be undercapitalized. One way to solve this is to pool resources and take advantage of economies of scale.
CBWPA, an organization that we support, is bringing Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard to Denver to talk about the history of worker cooperatives in the African American culture. This panel discussion will offer compelling ideas on how we can all help ensure that we don’t see another Tsunami of Black and Brown owned businesses. The other bright new shiny object is the Main Street Work Act which could provide some much-needed capital to these businesses.
Last year, RMEOC took the lead in passing legislation that encouraged employee ownership of existing small businesses. Consequently, we have more businesses than ever on the pathway of becoming employee-owned. Last year, we also participated in stakeholder meetings and citizen lobbying events to help craft and pass the Main Street Work Act! We offer a special thank you to Senator Gillibrand for leading the charge to get this passed.
Because of this legislation, for the first time, the SBA will be offering small business loans to businesses that want to transition into a worker cooperative. They were already offering loans to businesses that wanted to transition to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Similar to the Colorado legislation, the federal legislation also mandates that Small Business Development Centers educate their staff on employee ownership and begin pitching this model to appropriate clients. RMEOC as a part of the Workers 2 Owners Collaborative will be offering the SBA our input on how this legislation should roll out.
Leaders in Great Brittain are leading the charge to increase employee ownership and are setting a goal that employee-owned businesses will generate a certain percentage of GDP! RMEOC understands that our current economic system that has generated a huge swath of folks who are underpaid or under-employed, is not sustainable. We believe that creating more employee-owned businesses is a wise solve for this problem and we call on leaders to set GDP goals in the US as well!