Employee share ownership can bring a major contribution to entrepreneurship in Europe
, by creating new businesses or buying and developing existing companies.

  Creating new businesses: employee share ownership can be the vehicle for starting new businesses and creating new jobs.
Spain developed a very successful model of employee owned companies, the Sociedades Laborales (click here for our information pages).This original model allowed Spain to start with some 18.500 new companies and 110.000 new jobs. 15 % of all new Spanish companies are now taking the form of Sociedades Laborales.
Anthony Jensen, University of Sydney - Spain pioneers Sustainable Democratic Corporate Governance Business Model with Sociedades Laborales

  Buying existing companies: Transfers of businesses are now a major question in the European Union. During the next 10 years, 610.000 companies will have to be transfered every year from older owners to new ones, which involves 2,4 millions pending jobs every year ! Employee share ownership is recognized by the European Commission as one of the good schemes in this way. Various schemes are available: Workers BuyOut, Employee BuyOut, Management BuyOut...
Here the link to the first European report on the matter
And here the link to the second (final) European report (September 2003)
Employee buyouts, how does it work?
See Baxi Partnership (UK)
See also how EFES BELGIUM encourages transfers of businesses through employee share ownership.

  Co-operatives: When contributing to entrepreneurship, employee share ownership shows major similarities with workers' co-operatives, and co-operation is continuously growing between employee share ownership and co-operatives. As EFES, we have a strong co-operation since a long time with CECOP - the European Confederation of Workers' Co-operatives and Participative Enterprises. This is why we open now here a page dedicated to co-operatives.

22.12.2006: Insolvency, Employee Rights & Employee Buyouts, A Strategy for Restructuring - Anthony Jensen, Ithaca Consultancy and The Common Cause Foundation, UK
10.05.2004: New community programme for entrepreneurship and enterprise competitiveness 2006-2010.The European Commission organised a consultation. See all documents for this consultation.
Click here for EFES response. In short:
Employee ownership in the new community programme for entrepreneurship and enterprise competitiveness 2006-2010. In 1998, it was said that some 10% of American employees held shares of their enterprise; they are now 23,3%. Some weeks ago, the Australian Government launched a programme to double employee share ownership in Australia, from 5,5% of employees today to 11% in 2009.
Today, performances studies have multiplied and we can now consider with no doubt that when it is practiced in good conditions, employee share ownership brings to enterprises a gain of performances estimated at 2% of supplementary annual growth on average. On the European Union scale, this would represent millions of supplementary jobs. In this way the development of employee share ownership could be an important factor for the Lisbon Strategy.
Today, we are far from a European awareness and a strong mobilisation. Scepticism or indifference still dominate in many European countries. The contrast is obvious in comparison with the United States, Australia and other parts of the world. A political willingness of the European Union has still to crystallize.
We recommend that Europe gives itself a voluntary objective of industrial policy : reach 10 % of employee share ownership in the whole European Union in 2010. In this way, a whole combination of means have to be implemented at the Union level, in the Member States and in the regions. We particularly insist on the followings : 1. The implementation of a community organ (agency ? institute ? committee ?) for the promotion and the development of employee share ownership. 2. An adapted legislation must be applied in each country of the European Union. 3. Enterprise transfer and salvation of failing enterprises are situations where employee share ownership has proved its worth. Employee buyouts schemes should get particular support.
As a conclusion, the new community programme 2006-2010 for entrepreneurship and enterprise competitiveness can be the excellent occasion to crystallize a political willingness of the European Union for the promotion and development of employee share ownership.

26.06.2003: Green Book on Entrepreneurship in Europe: On January 2003, the European Commission has published a Green Paper to stimulate debate on the future agenda for entrepreneurship. This is the first time that the Commission has launched a comprehensive policy initiative to focus on the entire range of issues that could stimulate entrepreneurship in Europe.
Entrepreneurship is a crucial element for achieving the political objectives set at the European Council Meeting in Lisbon in 2000, where the European Union committed itself to becoming, within a decade, the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world. Entrepreneurship is a driver for economic growth, competitiveness and job creation. Furthermore, it can be a vehicle for personal development and can help resolve social issues.
As a European Business Representative Organisation, EFES took part to the writing of the Green Paper, and employee share ownership is already mentionned as a significant element.
The Green Paper aims to stimulate debate amongst policy makers, businesses, representative organisations, journalists and experts on how to shape entrepreneurship policy for the future. It analyses a range of policy options and asks, within the proposed framework for entrepreneurship policy, a number of questions suggesting different options on how to reach progress.
You can take part to the consultation on this Green Book, sending your opinion and comments before June 30, 2003.
You can see the Green Paper and get all information in 11 European languages on page:

EFES sent its response to the Green Book on 26.06.2003: click here for EFES Response to the Green Paper

11.03.2003: Communication of the European Commission on Innovation Policy, focusing on "entrepreneurial innovation": A new Communication on innovation policy, focusing on "entrepreneurial innovation", was adopted by the European Commission on March 11, 2003. Innovation's crucial role in helping to create conditions in which enterprises can boost Europe's growth and competitiveness will be discussed at the March 21 Spring Council of Ministers in Brussels.
You find all information and you can get this Communication on http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/innovation/communication.htm

11.12.2002: Communication of the European Commission on "Industrial Policy in an Enlarged Europe": The EC adopted a new communication on 11.12.2002, considering that three key factors of industrial competitiveness deserve particular attention: knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship.
All information is on http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/enterprise_policy/industry/policy.htm where you can get the communication in 11 languages.

03.07.2003: The Good Practice Guide of the European Union for the Transfer of Businesses was published by the European Commission on July 3, 2003; it is available on: http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/entrepreneurship/support_measures/transfer_business/transfer_brochure.pdf
See also the EC Transfer of Businesses Homepage




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E-mail: efes@efesonline.org
Web site: www.efesonline.org
EFES' objective is to act as the umbrella organization of employee owners, companies and all persons, trade unions, experts, researchers, institutions looking to promote employee share ownership and participation in Europe.