New Belgium Brewing Company Archives - Colorado Politics
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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 19, 20172min780

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.”


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirApril 25, 20174min222
Don’t care for the way management runs your workplace? Would you do things differently if you ran the joint? Don’t just grouse about it; take it over — the legal way: Buy ’em out so you and your coworkers can run the business for yourselves. Granted, that’s easier said than done, but it’s also about to become […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 17, 20173min4010

State House Democrats believe Colorado could be on the crest of a new wave in the business marketplace: employee-owned companies. While the concept has been around a long time — and occasionally has been put into practice — it seems to hold new allure amid the uncertainties of the rapidly changing, 21st century economy. It also draws inspiration from the likes of Fort Collins’s own New Belgium Brewing Co., a 100 percent-employee-owned dynamo in our state’s booming craft-brew trade. As of 2015, New Belgium was the fourth-largest craft brewery and eighth-largest overall brewery in the United States.

Which is why state Rep. James Coleman, D-Denver, wants to give employee ownership a boost. His House Bill 1214, which passed the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee Thursday on a party-line vote, directs the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade to promote employee ownership as part of its small business assistance center.

According to a statement from the House Democratic press office, the bill 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.

States the press release:

…Small businesses employ a million Coloradans, about half the workforce. Of those million Coloradans, about two-thirds work for companies owned by baby boomers, who are now starting to retire in large numbers. In many, perhaps most cases, converting these businesses to employee ownership, rather than selling the businesses to outside investors, would be the softest landing for the employees, for the companies’ health and for the Colorado economy.

By many statistical measures, employee-owned companies simply perform better. They hire more employees and lay off fewer employees. They pay higher wages and have better retirement plans. They even have higher sales than non-employee-owned companies. The ranks of employee-owned businesses include widely acclaimed companies like New Belgium in Fort Collins, demonstrating that this business model can be highly successful.

The novel proposal now heads to the full House for debate and a vote.