The Ohio Employee Ownership Center

Category Archives: Business News

Ohio Policy Change: Businesses will be notified of tax overpayments

The Ohio Department of Taxation will begin notifying taxpayers who have overpaid and assist them in reclaiming their money.

According to the Associated Press article, businesses previously lost the right to reclaim overpayments if they didn’t discover their own error within a certain amount of time. Now, the tax department will begin notifying taxpayers–both businesses and individuals–“who may have overpaid by a total of up to $13.7 million.” 

Read more on this update from The Plain Dealer.



Studies Continue to Find that Employee Ownership Can be a Boost to Companies and Employees

Earlier this month, employee owned company Automated Packaging Systems of Streetsboro, Ohio, was rated 8th among the Top Work Places in Northeast Ohio for the second year. According to the news release on the company’s website, “Automated Packaging received feedback that employees feel like they can make a difference, they do have an impact on the company’s success, and they feel appreciated.”

As these articles suggest, this is one of the many benefits employee ownership can offer a company. 

Christina Nelson, Managing Editor of the Journal of Financial Planning, also blogged earlier this month about how an ESOP can be a “Relationship Builder” in a company, and is especially beneficial for companies with retiring owners. You can read her post on the Practice Management Center Blog for more details. 

Loughborough University of Leicestershire, UK, also published the results of their own study into the impact of employee share plans. Among the results, the university found that “employee share plans can deliver positive outcomes for employees and employers alike — even during financially challenging times.” Read more about the resuts in this article from HR Magazine.

According to Forbes contributor, Spock would have hated ESOPs?

“Sometimes logic doesn’t make sense. And sometimes the illogical is the real deal.”

This thought occured to Forbes contributor, Steve Parrish after speaking with an ESOP expert. Parrish, with more than 30 years of experience as an attorney and financial planner, explains that not all features of ESOPs appear logical on the surface. 

Among the (il)logics discussed are;

  • “The tax code is your friend.”
  • “You can borrow to fund your pension.”
  • “The best way to keep your business is to sell it.”
  • “1 percent plus 99 percent = 110 percent.”

According to Parrish, these factors are what make ESOPs a compelling finance, retirement and exit tool for business owners. To follow his (il)logic, check out his article “Spock would have hated ESOPs, but Spock never owned a company,” on Forbes

Alaska, the "Last Frontier," expected to see its first food cooperatives soon

The Alaska Dispatch recently announced that food co-ops may “change the way Alaskans shop for groceries.” Alaska, home to the most successful fishing co-op in the US, may soon be home to two new shopper-owned grocery stores. 

In Fairbanks, community members raised the idea of creating a central hub for local food and raised more a million dollars to move forward with the effort. The Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market is expected to open in late 2012 or early 2013. 

The food cooperative movement in Juneau arose out of need for a local grocery after the Alaskan and Proud Grocery closed unexpectedly in Fall of 2012. The Juneau co-op is currently at the planning stage. 

Read more about the cooperative food effort in Alaska on the Alaska Dispatch webpage. 

Direct Sales in Agriculture Promoting Local Economic Recovery

According to Laura Christman at Redding News,

Invigorating the local food economy goes beyond buying kale and beets at the farmers market. Food analyst Ken Meter says [Minnesotta] needs to encourage food-related businesses that would buy from farmers and keep dollars in the region.

In studying Minnesota’s food economy in several states, Meter concluded that “of the $912 million in food purchases made yearly, $800 million is spent on foods that come from outside the region.” His study shows that a state’s food economy could be strengthened by encouraging local businesses to buy directly from farmers and ranchers. As an example, he described a small Ohio dairy that sells to a nearby ice cream business. This ice cream business also buys berries and other items from local farmers to use as flavorings. 

Read more on his findings here.

Credit Unions a “Lifeboat” for Students Struggling with Debt?

Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt and is predicted to cross $1 trillion this year

According to Emily Barker at Co-operative News, students may find a “saving grace” in credit unions.

While many banks have began to shy away from the student loan market, credit unions are still committed to providing fixed rate loans for students struggling with debt.

More than 130 credit unions nationwide have joined together to launch cuStudentLoans to connect students with not-for-profit lenders. cuStudentLoans now serves 2.1 million credit union members and has US$18 billion in combined total assets. Credit unions not only decrease the interest on student loans, but they actively encourage better debt management.

To read more of this article at Co-operative News, click here.

Employee Ownership News: Employee-Owned Companies Celebrate Milestones

Earlier this month, SS&G, an employee-owned accounting firm based in Montrose, Ohio, celebrated their 25th anniversary. SS&G began with only 2 employees, and since then the firm has grown to become the 41st largest accounting firm in the US with more than $70 million in revenue last year and more than 450 employees. To celebrate their anniversary, the firm hosted a luncheon program for the Greater Akron Chamber’s Young Professional Network members. Read more on this story from the Beacon Journal.

Business Wire recently announced the accomplishments of Neuberger Berman since they converted to employee-ownership three years ago. In their goal to become 100%  employee owned, the company committed to and began payments on equit purchases from Lehman Brothers Holding in April 2012. Since March of 2011, they have acquired $11.5 in new institutional business and increased mutual fund assets  by 11%.

Long Island Business News reported that the employees of Peerless Electronics have purchased 100% of the firm through an ESOP as of May 30. The executives agreed that an ESOP was the best way to “ensure the continued success of Peerless for the benefit of its employees, customers and suppliers.

A "Robust and Sustainable Economy" through Employee Ownership

This interesting article appeared recently on the Economic Intelligence Blog of U.S. News  explaining how Employee-Owned businesses are the key to a “more robust and sustainable economy.”

The article focuses on the success of John Lewis Partnership in England. A company that is 100% owned by its 81,000 employees, and boasted a $13.7 billion in 2011 revenues. While remaining profitable during the Great recession, the company also managed to provide fair compensation and give employees control over the business through a “generative ownership” model. U.S. companies likewise benefit from employee ownership, often out performing similar non employee-owned businesses with “lower staff turnover, higher trust, and greater shareholder value.”

"We The Owners" Movie Trailer Released

The Foundation for Enterprise Development has released the trailer for their new film on employee ownership. Titled “We The Owners: Employees Expanding the American Dream” the film follows three differently structured employee-owned companies as they create a stakeholder economy based on ‘prosperity through ownership’. And, in a publishing coup, the OEOC can preview a few stills from the film:


The purpose of the film is more than entertainment. In conversations with your humble scribe, Executive Producer Mary Ann Beyster expressed the additional goal that the film be a tool for broadening the discussion and teaching of the concept of employee ownership in the nation’s universities and MBA programs (a goal that we at the OEOC certainly applaud and support).

Scheduled for release in Summer 2012, you can view the trailer at the site linked above or on YouTube.

The Foundation for Enterprise Development was founded in 1986 by Dr. J. Robert Beyster. The Foundation’s mission is to promote broad-based employee ownership and entrepreneurism.

US House Approves Looser Rules for Closely Held Companies Seeking Equity

Bloomberg BusinessWeek has a story on two measures passed by the house of Representatives that loosens rules on equity investors for smaller enterprises:

House lawmakers voted 407-17 to pass a measure that would exempt from Securities and Exchange Commission registration firms that solicit and pool small investments, often online, of up to $1 million. The practice, known as crowdfunding, garnered bipartisan support after Obama’s Sept. 8 speech to Congress…

…Representative Kevin McCarthy, the third-ranked Republican in the House, sponsored a second bill passed today that would allow closely held firms to market offerings to accredited investors. The SEC currently bans closely held firms from soliciting funding from investors.

Both measures passed on a bipartisan basis and now move to the Senate for approval.