About Certified Employee-Owned

Building a more prosperous future with an employee-owned economy

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The Vision

Certified EO is building a future where employee-owned companies are a mainstay of the American economy. Where the benefits of employee ownership are widely recognized and are seen as one of the defining aspects of a great business.

In this future, EO companies will be the employer of choice for millions of job seekers. And being employee-owned will be a major differentiator with clients and consumers.

State and local governments will understand that employee-owned companies are tied to local communities in ways that strengthen local economies. And on top of that, employee-owned companies will work together toward a common goal: building an employee-owned economy.









How it all started

The Movement,
The Community

In early 2016, Thomas and Kramer sat down to share ideas on how to increase the visibility of employee ownership. Inspired by the success of Made in America and Fair Trade, the two decided that a certification program for employee-owned companies would be a great way to combine the reach of the community to start a drumbeat of support.

The next year and a half were spent discussing the idea with stakeholders in the EO Community, developing the certification standards, and connecting with employee-owned companies. Certified EO officially launched in September 2017 with 28 Founding Members.

Ready to be Certified?

Is your business at least 30% employee-owned? Get certified and start reaping the benefits of a Certified Employee-Owned membership.

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How it all started part 2

The Power of
Employee Ownership

Thomas Dudley and Kramer Sharp founded Certified Employee-Owned in 2016 with a simple goal in mind: to make it easy for Americans to find employee-owned companies.

At the time, Thomas was working on a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He had come across academic studies of EO companies that demonstrated the power of this model to change lives and strengthen the economy.

As Thomas dove into the data, he kept finding out that companies he knew and loved were also employee-owned. Excited and surprised by the widespread nature of this model, Thomas shared what he was learning with his long-time friend Kramer. The two kept asking the same question: why have we never heard of this before?

Their sample toolkit worksheets and webinars have been tremendously helpful in strengthening our Employee Ownership culture from internal communications, recruiting, social media, and marketing.

We are proud to display the 100% Employee-Owned Certification Mark.

Chad Raisland

Billings Office Manager

How to get certified

Ready to get started? We’ve been told the process is rigorous yet highly efficient.

1. Introduction

Explore member benefits in a short 20-minute call. If you’re interested in proceeding, we can dive right in with a 45-minute demo.

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2. Certification

Apply by filling out a certification questionnaire. This typically takes 1-2 hours.

3. Kickoff

Meet your dedicated Membership Manager and discuss your priorities. Learn how the Member Platform works and create your annual communications plan.

4. Ongoing

Get ongoing support—stay on track with project reminders, webinars, and regular contact with your Membership Manager.

Does your business meet the certification standards?

  • Ownership: At least 30% of your company must be employee-owned (excluding founders).
  • Access: Every employee must have reasonable access to ownership.
  • Concentration: Employee-owned shares can’t be over-concentrated.

Just 1 in 200 U.S. businesses qualify for Certified Employee-Owned membership.

Ready to be Certified?

Is your business at least 30% employee-owned? Get certified and start reaping the benefits of a Certified Employee-Owned membership.

Apply Now