Showcases / Handing the keys to the staff might be the obvious solution

Succession is an issue facing many of Shetland’s businesses – what to do with the business when the owner is looking to move on?

The employees are the new owners of Laurence Odie Knitwear Ltd. Photo: Business Gateway Shetland

THERE is a succession option fast growing in popularity. By selling into an employee ownership structure, a business owner can achieve a fair market value and dictate the pace of their own exit, allow the employees to take control of their own destiny, and secure the future of the business in Shetland.

Research has shown that employee owned businesses can not only be profitable and productive but they also have a happier workforce.

Business Gateway Shetland is hosting one-to-one sessions with employee ownership expert Carole Leslie on 23 and 24 May which will enable business owners to learn more about the processes and the public support available.

Carole Leslie, Ownership Associates said, “A sale to employees can be a tax effective way for business owners to exit the business, knowing that the future of the employees and the company is secure as long as it continues to be successful.”

Two Shetland businesses have recently taken the employee ownership route, Laurence Odie Knitwear and ESPL Regulatory Consulting.

Laurence Odie, Managing Director, Laurence Odie Knitwear said, “As I began to think about my retirement, I knew that I wanted to guarantee the future of Laurence Odie Knitwear as a Shetland company.

“Employee ownership means that the business remains in Shetland, providing good employment, producing quality Shetland knitwear that is respected throughout the world.”

Helen Erwood, co-Founder, ESPL Regulatory Consulting added, “Transfer to an Employee Ownership Trust was the obvious solution for ESPL Regulatory Consultancy.

“We wanted to provide continuity for our clients and staff, and I’m not ready to leave the business completely. The process was smooth and straightforward and ESPL now has a solid platform from which the whole team can continue to build and develop the business.”

Business owners, and employees, interested in finding out more can make a one-to-one appointment by contacting Business Gateway Shetland – call 01595 707451 or email