Building Back Better: How investing in employee ownership creates resiliency for workers, businesses and local economies

Alison Powers May 27, 2021

Over the past decade, employee ownership has been gaining traction as a tool for building wealth and assets for workers with low wages and communities of color. The country is facing a “Silver Tsunami” of small business closures as a result of the wave of baby boomer retirees, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-induced economic crisis. Conversions to employee ownership–in which business owners sell their business to the workers–preserve jobs, stabilize communities and ultimately create more resilient businesses. During this unprecedented economic and social climate, not only are employee-owned businesses surviving, they are demonstrating resiliency and modeling what the next phase of the U.S. economy could look like. 

In this session, we will hear from two organizations that are pairing technical assistance and capital to enable employees to purchase their businesses: Apis & Heritage, a Black-led private equity buy-out fund that transitions closely-held businesses with Black and brown workforces to worker ownership; and Project Equity, a national leader in the movement to harness employee ownership to maintain thriving local business communities, create quality jobs, and address income and wealth inequality. The session will be moderated by Capital Impact Partners, one of the largest national Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), that recently financed the conversion of a 130-year-old business in New York, preserving the jobs of more than 50 workers.



Meta Themes

  • Equity & Inclusion

  • Social Entrepreneurship

  • Impact Investing


employee ownership, worker cooperatives, racial equity, asset building

Purpose and Desired Outcome

This session will discuss how these initiatives are working with impact investors, how investment works in cooperatives and other forms of employee ownership, and the deep impacts that employee ownership offers for essential and frontline workers and workers of color. Participants will understand how employee ownership helps us rebuild with more resiliency for workers, businesses, and our local economies, and how it can scale up in the U.S. economy to move from “best kept secret” to “business as usual.”


  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Accelerators & Incubators

  • Government

  • Entrepreneurs

  • Asset Managers

  • Intermediaries (Financial Advisers, Investment Bankers)

  • Corporate & SME


  • NameAlison Powers
  • TitleManager, Cooperative and Community Initiatives
  • OrganizationCapital Impact Partners
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameTodd Leverette
  • TitlePrincipal
  • OrganizationApis & Heritage Capital Partners
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameAlison Lingane,
  • TitleCo-founder
  • OrganizationProject Equity
  • StatusConfirmed
Join the SOCAP Newsletter!