The Ohio Employee Ownership Center

Tag Archives: Business

Upcoming ‘Lunch and Learn’ Event in Akron aimed at increasing efficiency in manufacturing.

On Wednesday, July 11, 2012 Greater Akron Chamber, PolymerOhio and Moldex3D will be presenting Growing Your Business through Computational Modeling: Moldex3D Injection Molding Simulation Tools. 

The ‘Lunch and Learn’ event will introduce participants to Moldex3D, the first 3D mold flow analysis software. The software is now available through Polymer Portal and can be used to reduce cost and time to design and fabricate injection molds. 

For more information and to register for this event, visit the Polymer Portal Website.

PolymerOhio is an Ohio Edison Technology Center and developed the “Polymer Portal” in conjunction with the Ohio Supercomputer Center to provide affordable access to productivity-enhancing software and training.

Questions regarding this event may be directed to Lynda Wright.


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.

An ESOP Top Ten: Issues to Consider

This article appeared in the New South Chapter of the ESOP Association quarterly newsletter and was shared by Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP.

When considering, creating and administering an ESOP, there are some important issues that should be considered including valuation, diversification, the role of employee owners, and debt services.

Regardless of how an ESOP is used, there are some unique concerns that plan sponsors, trustees, and other fiduciaries of such plans should consider in connection with the creation and ongoing administration of the ESOP.

Read the entire article here.

"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.

Cooperatives: Doing Business Better

This week’s Christian Science Monitor has a nice article highlighting the cooperative business model and 2012 being the International Year of the Cooperative.

Two important points are made in the piece:

Co-ops worldwide represent much more than hippie grocery stores: They’re a fast-growing way to do business better in fields from finance to agriculture to industry…

…Cooperatives are more widespread than you might think. From banks and credit unions to apartment buildings to worker-owned businesses, co-ops appear in every facet of today’s economy. In most cases, they formed in response to economic crises like the Great Depression, or to let small groups compete in monopolized markets. In 2012, both of those conditions exist – and unsurprisingly, so do cooperatives.

All too often when talking to the general public about cooperatives, misconceptions and misunderstandings occur about the nature and scope of cooperative enterprises. The truth is, there is enough flexibility in the cooperative model to handle any type of business endeavour.

Program Provides Understanding of Cooperatives

If you’re interested in learning more about cooperatives, we invite you to attend the Ohio Cooperative Symposium: Cooperative Business Structure for Small Business Owners and Operators in Akron on April 19. This program is underwritten by the USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant and brought to you at no cost.

Cooperative enterprises are successful and common business models playing a vital role in our local communities. This session is for anyone interested in learning more about cooperatives and talking with people who have worked with successful co-ops. Sessions will include basic and advanced cooperative topics as well as tracks on developing Co-ops and Cooperative activities in the Food Community.

For more information on topics to be discussed and registration click here.

DotCoop Award Winners for Cooperative Excellence Announced

DotCoop, sponsor of the .coop domain name, announced the winners of its Cooperative Excellence Awards last week. One of the more interesting winners, at least for me, was s.coop, a web link shortening service.

For those of you who don’t know what a ‘web link shortening service’ is, well, let me show you.

If you would like to read a nice article about the full slate of award winners on the excellent Co-operative News website, I could provide you with the following link:


Quite a mouthful, especially if you wanted to send out the link via a social media outlet (such as Twitter) that has a defined limit on the number of available characters allowed in a message.

By using s.coop‘s service, I can get the link shortened to a more manageable:


Much better!

To begin using the s.coop service, and to show a little cooperative pride, log onto http://s.coop/

How much can I "get" – for my business ??

(posted by Jay Simecek, exit planning professional with the Succession Planning Program at the OEOC)

A recent conversation with a small business owner thinking of retirement reminded me of interesting reality checks for those considering the sale of their business. The big question is always “how much can I get?” Seems like an easy question, right?

Well not so fast.

Three thoughts:

First, the price you receive is strictly up to the proverbial “willing buyer.” It makes no difference what your accountant, attorney, wife, or brother-in-law think. Find a buyer.

Second, that buyer will normally only pay based on past performance, not potential. That is, your past performance, and not his potential. Find a qualified business valuator for a start.

Third, what you sell for and what you keep are two different things. And guess what, Uncle Sam wants a lot. Find a good tax planner.

So … what will “you” get?

Family Farms Facing Succession Share Issues with Other Small Businesses

One of the major concerns hitting agricultural-heavy states like Ohio is the issue of family farm succession. As family farms are operated more and more like small businesses (which is in fact what they are), concerns about what will happen to the family farm when the baby boomer farmers look at retiring are taking center stage in economic development and job retention initiatives.

While there are differences between how farms and “standard” small businesses operate, when talking about succession planning, many of the issues facing farmers and their conventional business owner counterparts are very much the same.

The Star Phoenix newspaper of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada has an interesting article with some helpful hints for family farmers as they face the prospect of succession. Among the article’s salient points:

  1. The holidays, the time of year when the extended family is likely to be together, provide a good opportunity to have these types of discussions;
  2. Communication is key: don’t assume to know what other family members think about the farm business, what should happen to it going forward, and which family members might be interested in taking over operations;
  3. Don’t wait to the last minute to involve the next generation of ownership in management decisions;
  4. Treating farming children and non-farming children fairly (but not necessarily equally) is important; and
  5. Starting early is the retiring generation’s best friend.

Good advice for any type of small business.