Six Years, Six Hundred Members

Thomas Dudley



It feels like just yesterday that Kramer and I sat down to talk about the idea that would grow into Certified Employee-Owned. As we celebrate our six-year anniversary, we're filled with gratitude and amazement at how far we've come. From humble beginnings with twenty eight Founding Members, to a thriving community of six hundred, the evolution of Certified EO has been a testament to the power of employee ownership and the unwavering commitment of our Members.

Inception and Growth

We launched Certified EO in 2017 with a simple vision: use certification to define, organize, and amplify employee ownership. We believed wholeheartedly in the potential of employee-owned companies to transform not just businesses, but entire economies. Inspired by the success of programs like Great Place to Work and B Corporation, we saw certification as a proven model to build support for and grow employee ownership.

Fast forward to today, and the numbers astound us. From that humble group of twenty-eight, we've grown to a remarkable six hundred Members. They aren't just numbers on a page; they represent the individuals, the teams, and the families who have chosen a different path for their businesses. Our Membership is a tapestry woven with stories of dedication, hard work, and the desire to create lasting legacies.

Sharing Ownership Stories

Our journey over the past six years has been about more than just accumulating Members; it's been about sharing helping companies share their ownership story. Employee ownership isn't just a business model, it's a belief that when employees are empowered and have a stake in the success of their company, magic happens. We’re proud to work directly with our Members to provide them the tools and playbook they need to build a culture of ownership. 

The larger our network grows, the more we are able to amplify the voice of our Members. Certification makes employee ownership easy to understand, and getting certified makes it easy to join forces with 600+ companies building a brand together with our Certification Mark. As our network has grown and national brands like Litehouse and WinCo Foods have backed our brand, we have created a powerful tool that our Members can use to stand out as a great employee-owned company.

There’s a similar dynamic with our Directory of Employee-Owned Companies. The Directory is the only place to find an up-to-date list of every employee-owned company in America and it has become a go-to resource for people looking to get involved in the space. We’ve heard of people using our Directory to simply explore employee ownership, to network with other other employee-owned companies, and even to explore potential suppliers. The transparency and accuracy of our Certification data that powers the Directory has led to a partnership with the Healthcare Anchor Network to help over 1,000 hospitals identify procurement opportunities with employee-owned companies!

Recently we took another step to amplify the voice of our Members by launching Employee-Owned Jobs, the only job board focused on open positions at employee-owned companies. With over 8,500 active listings, we’re making it easy for our Members to hire great employee-owners. We’re currently connecting with community colleges, trade schools, and workforce development centers to educate job seekers about the benefits of becoming an employee-owner.

Looking Forward: Uniting Purpose and Potential

If the past six years have taught us anything, it's that the potential growth and impact of employee ownership is boundless. Going forward we're committed to deepening our impact. We will continue to provide resources, guidance, and a platform for knowledge-sharing among our Members. We will grow our reach and our ability to promote employee ownership. Our commitment to amplifying the voice of the employee ownership movement will remain unwavering. We believe in a future where employee-owned companies aren't the exception, but the norm, and we’re excited to build that future in partnership with our Members. 

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