For Immediate Release
April 22, 2022
Washington, DC — On behalf of the more than 10.6 million American employee-owners with an ownership interest in an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company, The ESOP Association applauds Representative Young Kim of California, along with Reps. Jason Crow of Colorado, Dean Phillips of Minnesota, and Elise Stefanik of New York, for introducing a bipartisan “Golden-preneurship Act” in the House. Based on the bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Tim Scott of South Carolina and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, the Golden-preneurship Act would institute a program at the Small Business Administration that supports the entrepreneurial efforts of older business leaders and includes ESOPs as a core requirement for the SBA entrepreneurship curriculum established by the bill.
“America is facing a ‘silver tsunami’ -- the largest transition of business ownership in history as the baby boom generation transitions toward retirement or new entrepreneurial ventures,” said Jim Bonham, President and CEO of The ESOP Association. “We applaud and appreciate Representatives Kim, Crow, Phillips, and Stefanik for their bipartisan effort that recognizes the critical role these older business leaders can play in transitioning privately held businesses to employees through an ESOP. These policy leaders clearly understand the important issues facing our economy and appreciate the relevance of employee ownership in addressing them.”
The ESOP Association has been focused on addressing the silver tsunami, which is the retirement of baby boomer business owners from the workforce. Encouraging and promoting a transition in the ownership of these businesses to their employees is a top priority for The ESOP Association and its members. Currently baby boomers own half of all privately held firms in the U.S. – 2.9 million firms, more than 32 million workers, with $6.5 trillion in revenue.
Bonham continued, “As these businesses look at succession plans, employee ownership should be a top option, and the Small Business Administration can help promote that through the curriculum envisioned by this bill.” To accomplish this goal, the SBA will be tasked with developing an educational curriculum designed to improve business success, which specifically includes education on ESOP formation.
Administered through grants made to state Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), universities, and other non-profit organizations, grantees may partner with subject matter experts with the necessary technical experience. ESOPs will be a required part of the new SBA curriculum and knowledgeable partners will be needed. Therefore, the ESOP provisions of the Golden-preneurship Act offer a real opportunity for ESOP professionals to have a new pathway to provide education and services to a growing number of newly formed businesses.
Employee ownership has been shown to increase worker productivity and engagement, provide retirement security, and address wealth and wage gaps. Over the last 12 years, ESOP companies were 235% better at keeping jobs local when compared to conventionally owned companies.
The ESOP Association urges Congress to consider this legislation, examine other ways to keep businesses strong, local, and domestic, and in general to promote employee ownership and its benefits.
Link to the Senate bill S.2348 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Golden-preneurship Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Director of Communications
The ESOP Association is the largest organization in the world supporting employee-owned companies, the more than 10 million U.S. employees who participate in an ESOP, and the professionals who provide services to them. Headquartered at the International Employee Ownership Center in Washington, DC and operating as a 501c6 organization with the affiliated Employee Ownership Foundation, The ESOP Association conducts and funds academic research, provides more than 160 annual conferences and events attended by nearly 15,000 individuals, and advocates on behalf of employee owners and their businesses to federal and state lawmakers. You can learn more at www.esopassociation.org.