Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business


Anglesey Firm Quadruples Workforce Thanks to Employee-Owned Transition


A private consultancy firm with offices in Anglesey and Bridgend has quadrupled its workforce since becoming employee-owned, growing from 13 employees to 51 over a three-year period. 

Back in 2018, the Wales Co-operative Centre’s team of specialist business advisers supported BIC Innovation Ltd on their employee ownership journey, helping them to navigate through a major change in the way the business was structured. The support identified that the company’s values around culture and wanting to ensure the business remained in Wales, close to its roots, were very much aligned with the ethos of becoming employee-owned.

Keen to create a platform to manage future succession issues, BIC decided to adopt the Employee Share Scheme model.

Huw Watkins, a Founding Director of BIC Innovation Ltd has been delighted with the response by staff and the impact it has had on overall business value: 

Becoming employee-owned, and the sense of ownership it brings with it, has seen our team really pull together through these extraordinary times. Each and every employee is invested in the future of the company and is working so hard to ensure we do our best to navigate our way through huge economic changes. I believe that our ownership model has helped us to create a culture of openness and transparency and given us a meaningful point of difference in the marketplace.”

Anna Pearce, Marketing Manager and employee shareholder at BIC, said:

BIC’s transition to being employee-owned felt like a natural step as it fits so well with our culture. Having personally taken the opportunity to become an employee shareholder, I have found that it has created a renewed passion and drive for the business. The appointment of the Minority Shareholder Director has given us a meaningful voice, and enabled improved two-way communication for addressing issues and contributing ideas for the future direction of the business.”

Being an employee-owned business was actively promoted by BIC as part of their ongoing recruitment strategy. Huw Watkins firmly believes that employee ownership has contributed to attracting new talent with diverse perspectives, who provide different ideas, deliver improved services for clients and add value to the brand. Indeed, some employees taken on as part of an internship, have become permanent employees and will become eligible to participate in the company’s share scheme after a year of employment.

Last June, the Welsh Government committed to doubling the number of employee-owned businesses in Wales over the next Senedd term and since then the Wales Co-operative Centre, the UK’s largest co-operative development agency, have seen a big surge in the number of businesses coming forward looking to make that transition.

Paul Cantrill, part of the Employee Ownership team at the Wales Co-operative Centre and specialist advisor to BIC Innovation during the employee-owned transition, said:

We’re delighted that we could support a highly successful and innovative Welsh firm to become employee owned. The founders of BIC Innovation have shown great leadership during this employee-owned journey and as a result, it has created something special, a real feeling of belonging and focus with how they move the business forward.

“Many companies in Wales are recognising that the Employee Ownership model is a smart choice for them, particularly if they have been grown from a seed, have a sense of responsibility towards their employees, and want to attract and retain local talent. We would encourage other business owners to get in touch to find out how Employee Ownership could support their business to grow and thrive.”

The Employee Ownership team at the Wales Co-operative Centre is part of the Social Business Wales programme, funded by the Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund.

The team has advised more than 50 companies in Wales about ownership transition, completing its first assignment in 1994 with the £9 million purchase of Tower Colliery by its employees. Since then the business support programme has helped many businesses make the transition to Employee Ownership including Tregroes Waffles, Cwmni Da, ETL Solutions, Wavehill Consulting, Heron House Financial Management, ITEC Training Solutions and Gateway Dental Practice.

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