Welsh Government on track to double the number of employee-owned businesses in Wales

The Welsh Government is on track to more than double the number of businesses in Wales that are owned by their employees as part of efforts to ensure Wales-based companies remain in Welsh hands, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said today.

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The Welsh Government’s Programme for Government commitment is to double the number of employee-owned businesses in Wales during this Senedd term, by providing greater support for worker buyouts.

In May 2021, there were 37 employee-owned businesses, with a target to reach 74 by May 2026.

The Minister revealed today there are now 63 employee-owned businesses in Wales, and Ministers expect to hit the target to double the number before the end of this Government term.

On average, two to three employee buy-out deals take place in Wales each year, but the scale of the employee-owned sector has grown in the past few years, and there is potential for many more employee-owned businesses.

Employee ownership delivers numerous benefits for employees and for businesses, with evidence showing employee-owned businesses are more productive and more resilient. They are also rooted in their local areas and regions, securing good quality jobs for the longer term within communities across Wales.

The Welsh Government’s Business Wales and Social Business Wales services also offer specialist advice to support employee buy outs, with fully funded and bespoke help available to help business owners decide if employee ownership and share schemes are the right solution for their business.

In addition, the Development Bank of Wales’ Wales Flexible Investment Fund offers a potential debt-based funding route for employee buyouts, with support for management buyouts available through the Wales Management Succession Fund.

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said:

“I’m delighted we’re on track to double the number of employee-owned businesses in Wales well before the end of this Senedd term.

“To achieve our vision, we’ve put in place significant support for employees to complete worker buyouts to ensure Wales-based companies remain rooted in a stronger Welsh economy.

“Employee ownership provides so many positive benefits. It gives employees the opportunity to have a significant and meaningful stake in the business they work for, giving them more control over their own futures. It also provides business owners with the peace of mind that the future of their business is in safe hands, and that the future of their highly valued employees has been safeguarded in the community the business was fostered in.

“I urge more businesses and employees to explore the benefits on offer via Business Wales and Social Business Wales.”

Archway Veterinary Centre, which has surgeries in Chepstow and Caldicot, became the first employee-owned veterinary practice in Wales earlier this year.

The business is now owned by 26 of its staff and is governed by an Employee Ownership Trust.

Andrea Reynolds, who previously had sole interest in the practice, said:

“When considering the future of Archway, I was adamant that it should remain independent long after my stewardship ends. We have a fantastic team dedicated to promoting animal health and welfare, and the employee ownership model recognises each staff member’s contribution and gives them a voice in the future of the business.

“It is the perfect way for me to pass on the practice and protect our core ethos long into the future.”

The Welsh Government works with Cwmpas to promote the benefits and development of employee ownership in Wales to ensure business based in Wales are aware of the opportunities it offers.

More information is available at: Employee ownership | Business Wales – Social Business Wales (gov.wales)

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