“We’re on a mission to turn the state of Georgia into a place where every working person can also be an employee owner.”
Why Georgia? Why Employee Ownership?
By any measure, Georgia is a great state to do business in. The economic development publication Site Selection has ranked Georgia the #1 state to do business in for six years running. Atlanta hosts the headquarters of 26 businesses in the Fortune 1000, placing it third in the nation after New York and Houston. For the last several years, Georgia’s economic and personal income growth have been well ahead of the US average.
Georgia also hosts its share of thriving employee-owned businesses. Three of the best-known and most highly regarded corporations in the state, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, and Georgia Power offer employee stock ownership plans in addition to their 401(k)s. While not headquartered in Georgia, Publix, the largest company in the US to be majority owned by its employees, has a strong presence here. All in all, there are over 150 employee-owned companies in state – close to the average for the US.
But there could be many more. Indeed, we may need there to be many more.
The United States is a country with an aging population, and Georgia, though a state that is younger than average, is no different. The country as a whole is facing a Silver Tsunami, and over the next decade it is likely that over 2.3 million business owners will retire, leading to over $10 trillion worth of businesses changing hands.
Georgia will be no exception. According to the research and advocacy organization Project Equity, Georgia has over 67,000 companies that are currently owned by baby boomers. These companies employ over 685,000 people, with a collective payroll over $25 billion, and see combined sales over $148 billion.
When the owners retire, what will happen with these companies? Presumably, many will stay in the family. Others may be sold to competitors or to private equity. Still others may not be able to find a buyer, and will be dissolved.
If you’re reading this: are you one of these business owners, or do you know one of them? Do you know what will happen with that business?
Our organization exists because we believe that many of these businesses could be great candidates for employee ownership, and we want them to know about it as an option. It’s certainly not the only option, but it’s one that:
- Can lead to a comfortable financial exit for the selling owner(s)
- Keeps the business in the place it was created
- Creates a terrific wealth-building opportunity for longtime employees
- Creates a real legacy for the community
We believe Georgia can be one of the leading states for employee ownership. It’s the right solution at the right time in our state’s history.