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Unity Trust Bank and DJS Research to take part in EOA’s annual conference

Blogs Published: November 8, 2021 10:58 am

As a proud trustee member of the Employee Ownership Association, Unity Trust Bank is delighted to take part in this year’s virtual annual conference from November 16-18.

Unity shares the EOA’s commitment to supporting business models that bring true societal benefits.

Delegates will hear from a number of key speakers who will share their insights into becoming employee owned and offer advice to companies looking to transition.

Julia Godino, Head of Underwriting at Unity Trust Bank, will be addressing the conference on understanding the options to access finance from the banking market at both the point of transaction and post transition to an EOC.

Julia said: “Access to finance can sometimes be one of the barriers to becoming employee owned and we are delighted to be able to help EOA members understand what lenders are looking for and offer guidance on all of the key requirements so that businesses can be fully prepared.”

During the three-day conference, the spotlight will also be one of Unity’s long-standing suppliers, DJS Research, which became employee owned in July.

As a bank with a social conscience, we ensure that our suppliers have values that are closely aligned to ours and Cheshire-based DJS has been carrying out Unity’s market research for more than 15 years.

Chairman, Danny Sims, established the company in 2001 and it now has an annual turnover of £6.3m and employs 100 people.

As an ethical company which believes in empowering its workforce, Danny said becoming employee owned and therefore ensuring the legacy and independence of DJS for years to come was a natural progression.

He said: “Employee ownership hit all the right notes for us. It cements everything we’ve been trying to build our values around; listening to employees, giving them a say, encouraging them to come up with ideas.

“As well as job security, employees will also have a greater share in the profitability of the company and be truly part of its future. There’s real momentum for employee ownership and the support we had from the EOA has been brilliant. I feel part of a special club and I want to tell more people how great it is to be an employee-owned company.”

Some of the key experiences Danny will be sharing with delegates include:

  • Take your time to understand everything that is involved and ensure it is right for your business. Research is vital and it’s important to get it right.
  • Communicating with employees in an honest and transparent way to make sure they are on board is vital. Part of the ongoing journey is educating employees about how the business is run so that they fully understand everything.
  • DJS funded the first part of the transition itself but some companies may need to get a loan and the process could be more complicated. Speak to banks, solicitors and accountants that understand the mechanics of employee ownership and have done transactions before.
  • The journey starts properly after you have signed as there is still a lot to learn. Having spoken to John Lewis about running Trust board meetings it transpires that even companies which have been employee owned for years are still changing, adapting and listening today. Speak to as many employee owned businesses as possible for advice.

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