Biz Briefs: N.C. Employee Ownership Center prepares for business transitions

N.C. Employee Ownership Center prepares for business transitions

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic is waning in Western North Carolina, local businesses face another, slower-moving economic crisis. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, around half of all privately held businesses with employees in WNC — roughly 14,000 firms — are owned by people over age 55. 

Many industries around the state are therefore bracing for a retirement wave as business owners reach their golden years. While some owners choose to sell their companies or pass them down to family members, others simply close up shop, potentially leaving thousands of employees without work.

Preventing those closures is the goal of the Durham-based N.C. Employee Ownership Center. The organization advocates for a model in which employees collectively own a percentage of the business for which they work. Business owners can contact the center, the first of its kind in the state, to learn…

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