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26 June 2023

Gwynedd has the Most Employee-Owned Companies in Wales

Gwynedd has more employee-owned businesses per head of population than anywhere else in Wales, according to new research from Social Business Wales released last week to mark Employee Ownership Day.

Although Cardiff has the most employee-owned businesses in Wales at 9, when examining the number of companies per population, Gwynedd comes out top.

The top five local authority areas in Wales with the most employee-owned businesses per population, are:

Social Business Wales, which provides support for companies looking to transition into employee ownership through Employee Ownership Wales, has released research examining the economic benefits of employee ownership in Wales.

Employee ownership (EO) has increased significantly in the past decade – in 2013 there were just 13 EO businesses in Wales, as of today there are 64.

The research, conducted by employee-owned Ceredigion-based research company Wavehill, found that 33% of Welsh employee-owned businesses (EOB) are consultants (research, business, financial and environmental), 10% are in manufacturing, while 7.5% are in engineering, ICT and food and drink.

Most Welsh EO companies are well established and 63% of those surveyed had been in business for more than 20 years before making the decision to transition into EO. One of the longest established Welsh companies that has recently gone into employee ownership is Melin Tregwynt. It was more than 100 years old when its owners decided to turn it into an EO business in 2022.

The research also found that employee ownership has led to a shift in the culture of those businesses, leading to greater unity, with people working together towards a common goal, and greater ownership over those goals. Staff retention and recruitment is also better for employee-owned businesses, because of higher levels of engagement, financial rewards, motivation and loyalty.

Working for an employee-owned company also helps improve employees’ well-being and job satisfaction, strengthening the foundation on which most successful businesses are built.

Nicola Mehegan, Project Manager at Employee Ownership Wales, said of the research:

“Employee ownership provides numerous benefits. This latest research gives compelling evidence that the model fosters a sense of financial participation, motivating employees to work harder and boosting productivity.

“It attracts and retains top talent, offering a unique benefit package. Interests are aligned, leading to decisions that benefit long-term growth. Employee ownership has proven to be a valuable model, offering financial rewards, increased commitment, and a stronger connection between employees and the company. Furthermore, EO is an economically valuable way of retaining jobs in our local communities”.

The Employee Ownership Wales service is part of the Social Business Wales programme delivered by Cwmpas (formerly known as the Welsh Cooperative Centre). It is part of the Business Wales family and funded by Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund.

For more information about employee ownership, visit: Employee Ownership Wales 


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