Colorado could see more success stories like Fort Collins’s New Belgium Brewing Co. — a 100 percent-employee-owned dynamo in our state’s booming craft-brew trade — with Gov. John Hickenlooper signing into law this week a bill to assist employee buyouts.
The bipartisan House Bill 1214 — sponsored in the House by Denver Democratic state Rep. James Coleman, and in the upper chamber by Centennial Republican Sen. Jack Tate — would establish and administer a revolving loan program cash fund, financed by gifts, grants and donations, to help existing businesses convert into employee-owned businesses. No state revenue would be involved.
A Senate Republican press release touting Thursday’s bill signing notes:
While many small businesses are forced to close their doors for various circumstances, employee owned businesses are 25 percent more likely to stay in business, with their employees accruing roughly double the retirement savings of their peers.
Employee owned businesses tend to see greater job growth, faster overall growth, and lower rates of lay-offs and severance.
The press release quotes Tate:
“Struggling and low-income communities may find that this approach solves many of their unique challenges like accessing capital, small business ownership transitions, and overcoming barriers to job entry … By providing a mechanism for more Coloradans, regardless of background, to take ownership of their future, we can help more folks access a pathway to a more prosperous economic future.”