A traditional business governance structure consolidates leadership power within a single owner, executive director, or board of directors, which exacerbates wealth inequality and can raise questions of succession—in the absence of a directive, when an owner passes away, who takes over their business? Alternatives to traditional business governance strategies, such as employee ownership, can ameliorate these concerns by forcing business owners to develop succession plans, pay employees a share of firms’ revenues, or give employees equity in the businesses.
Employee ownership and cooperative business strategies are part of New York City’s efforts to realize a more inclusive and resilient economy. New York City agencies and community partners are collaborating to increase awareness of employee-owned and cooperative business models, invest in sector-specific programs, and leverage public funding and policy.
This series of five briefs documents the key elements of New York City’s efforts to support employee ownership. To inform this series, we interviewed city government staff, funders, and program partners to learn about the initiative’s structure and impact. In each brief, we focus on lessons other localities can learn from their emerging insights.