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Capital for Colleagues Conference 2024

In March, we were delighted to join our investors, Capital for Colleagues at their annual conference for investees at Worsley Park Country Club. It was a fantastic occasion to celebrate employee-ownership, and discuss the learnings and rewards that stem from this business model.

Capital for Colleagues plc is a quoted company focused on advising, investing in and supporting the growth of businesses that are - or want to become - employee-owned. They have supported the team at the Centre throughout our employee-ownership journey, which began back in in 2014, and currently hold 15% of the ordinary shares in the business, with our employees holding 85% through a combination of direct shares, and our Employee Ownership Trust and Share Incentive Plan Trust.

We’ve arrived at our 10th year of being an EOB (employee-owned business) in 2024, but looking back over the years the NSBRC has not always been the thriving market hall it is today. The NSBRC has had different owners, since opening in 2007, and for some our unique visitor Centre was not their core business. This difficult period was characterised by a badly maintained building, unengaged staff and a poor financial performance resulting in the previous operator losing access to the building in June 2014 and all staff being made redundant. Capital for Colleagues, inspired by the potential of the business to be a success, asked if a ‘skeleton team’ would be prepared to keep the Centre operational whilst they negotiated with the new landlord. This proved successful and the new NSBRC – led by our current managing director, Harvey Fremlin, started trading in November 2014.

Fast forward a decade and the NSBRC has won several awards, delivered a record number of events – both live and online - and had been able to share a proportion of its profits with our team members for seven years in a row. Our Centre often acts as a ‘hub’ for other businesses in the South West and we’ve even hosted events promoting the sector, which have in turn encouraged other businesses to make the transition to employee ownership.

During the conference, attended by Harvey, along with Katy Ashcroft and Kirsty James – our two elected ‘employee representatives’ - we heard from other investees and shared insights and best practice on a range of topics including cyber security, staff retention and benefits. Harvey delivered a case study on our Share Incentive Plan (SIP) which allows our team to buy shares, and receive free shares, in our business and explained how popular this has been as it allows everyone to feel genuinely engaged. Other highlights included a fascinating talk by Campbell McDonald, Chief Executive of Ownership at Work, a charitable think tank that, working with the Employee Ownership Association has produced important evidence on the positive impacts of sharing meaningful ownership and participation with employees.

The conference concluded with a dinner and networking and we’d like to thank everyone at Capital for Colleagues for producing such an informative and inspiring event.

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