City launches new employee-owned business transition hotline

the owner of a small business shop came to closed the shop.
Photo via Getty Images

City officials launched a new initiative on Wednesday aimed at helping struggling local businesses survive the remainder of the pandemic by converting them from a single-owner model into employee-owned businesses.

“So much of what we feel about our city is really about our neighborhoods and our neighborhood stores,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “ And in truth, a lot of businesses are struggling right now and folks who own those businesses are wondering if they can keep going. A lot of them have actually made the decision that it doesn’t work for them anymore but it might work for their employees to keep the business going.”

As part of the initiative, dubbed Employee Ownership NYC, the city is adding a new number to its list of hotlines where interested owners can call to receive more information on whether selling their business to their employees is the right option for them. 

Some benefits of selling a business to employees include tax benefits, ensuring a fair market price and preserving a business’ legacy. 

Employee ownership can take a few forms and usually means that either every member of a company’s workforce shares stock in the company or employees own and operate the business they work in. The initiative is an extension of a 2015 effort called the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative geared toward helping New York City residents co-own businesses. 

Both efforts are steps the city is taking to increase the number of minority and women-owned businesses in the city which have both faced extra hurdles during the pandemic-induced shutdowns. Although no group has been immune to the financial struggles of COVID-19,  a study from the University of California, Santa Cruz, reported 41%  of Black-owned business have been forced to shutter due to COVID-19 and an August survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found the number of female business owners reporting they felt “somewhat or very good” about the health of their business sank from 60% in January to 47% in July.   

“Employee-ownership is a powerful and long-standing strategy for bolstering business resiliency, preserving jobs, generating wealth, and cultivating a sense of ownership amongst working people, especially employees of color, in their workplace and in this nation,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Philip Thompson, who joined de Blasio during a Wednesday morning press conference 

“Innovation, collaboration, and adaptability are key when envisioning how small businesses will recover from the challenges posed by COVID-19,” said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the NYC Department Small Business Services. 

For more information call 646-363-6592 or visit owners2owners.nyc