Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC)

For over 30 years the Ohio Employee Ownership Center has (OEOC) served Ohio's employee-owned companies and future employee-owners. The OEOC has successfully provided guidance to business owners considering the two major forms of employee-ownership, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and Worker-owned Cooperatives. Of the more than 700 firms the OEOC has worked with to date, more than 100 companies employing 20,000-plus workers have implemented partial or complete employee ownership of their enterprises. These companies to date have created about $350 million in wealth for their employee owners.

The OEOC’s three primary areas of focus are:

  1. Employee Ownership – The OEOC educates business owners, and others, about the option available to sell the business to the employees; provides technical assistance for the enterprise to work through various issues as they explore this form of ownership; works with private sector employee-ownership professional service providers (attorneys, valuators, etc.) to properly plan and execute the transition to employee ownership; and provides ongoing training and educational programs for all levels of the organization to complete a successful transition.
  2. Succession Planning – The OEOC provides education to business owners around their various “exit” options so that they can initiate a timely and orderly ownership succession. Often times business owners learn of the option to sell their business to their employees in this process.
  3. Cooperative Development – The OEOC provides education and support in the development of a wide variety of cooperatively-owned enterprises. The OEOC has developed a noted expertise in the area of business sales/transfers to worker-owned cooperatives. The Center also works with a number of startup employee- and cooperatively-owned businesses every year.

We are funded by a wide range of sources, (including at various times) federal and state grants, private foundation grants, program and fee-for-service projects, sponsorships, and donations.

The OEOC manages Ohio's Employee-Owned Network, a network of 75 employee-owned companies, that provides multi-company training programs and customized single company training programs.  The largest annual training event for employee-owners, and others connected with employee-ownership, is the Ohio Employee Ownership Conference which takes place every April. The session draws 300 to 400 attendees from a range of groups and residents from up to 15 states.

For more information visit the Ohio Employee Ownership Center website  or contact

Chris Cooper, Director

Ohio Employee Ownership Center
321 Bowman Hall
Kent State University
Kent, OH 44242-0001
Phone: 330-672-3028
Email: ccooper1@kent.edu