Employees are anxious about their livelihoods when a business is on the market and are keen to secure their jobs. The closure of a business can be a missed opportunity for a local community, particularly in rural and regional areas where there are no other businesses to fill the gap of lost services or jobs.
In the northern hemisphere the ‘ageing demographic’ has hit earlier than in Australia, with many ageing business owners wanting to retire, leading to a problem of too many sellers and not enough buyers and many employee and community groups are securing their interests through community/employee buyouts. In Australia today when ageing business owners want to sell, there is increasing interest in this avenue as the businesses are frequently viable but often they are not profitable enough to attract buyers outside the community.
Alan Greig of the Mercury Centre Cooperative (www.mercury.org.au), a member of the Australian Employee Ownership Association (www.aeoa.org.au) tells PWF his organisation can work in tandem with local business advisors to help businesses through a ‘successful transition’.
for 4 Mercury Centre fact sheets.