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Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Economy

First published:
3 July 2023
Last updated:

The Welsh Government has made a commitment in our Programme for Government to double the number of employee-owned businesses in Wales by 2026.

To achieve this the Welsh Government is providing greater support, including through Business Wales, Social Business Wales and the Development Bank, to ensure Wales-based companies remain in Welsh hands.

Employee-owned businesses in Wales are diverse in terms of both geography and sector and are often driven by a need to plan for succession requiring long term vision and planning. Welsh employee-owned businesses have a progressive ethos with good transparency and lead to higher employee engagement.

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

By improving employee well-being and job satisfaction, the employee-ownership model plays a key part in strengthening the foundations on which every successful business is built.

While numbers of employee buy outs are typically small at around two a year, with intervention the scale of the employee-owned sector has grown significantly in the past few years, and there is potential for many more employee-owned businesses.

Wales has a lot to celebrate as to date there are 64 employee-owned businesses located across Wales. This represents an increase of 73% over the Senedd term. A further 3 new employee-owned businesses are at the legal stage of the transition process and therefore likely to convert to employee owned with a further 7 new enquiries received.

Business Wales and Social Business Wales offer specialist advice to support employee buyouts, 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. I have also approved funding for additional support to Cwmpas to promote the benefits and development of employee ownership in Wales to ensure businesses and workers based in Wales are aware of the opportunities it offers.

Furthermore, the Wales Flexible Investment Fund, which is operated by the Development Bank of Wales, offers a potential debt-based funding route for employee buyouts, with support for management buyouts available through the Wales Management Succession Fund.

Supporting employee-ownership is a key commitment for the Welsh Government and that is why we believe the employee ownership model provides fundamental benefits not only for the economy but also communities across Wales.