The Missouri Center for Employee Ownership Receives Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Grant to Raise Awareness of Employee Ownership Benefits

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More than 44,000 Local Business Owners Facing Retirement; Employee Stock Ownership Offers Owners a Valuable Succession Tool and Helps to Strengthen Heartland Communities

If we’re going to build a Heartland region that includes all communities and voices, we need to start with focusing on growing an inclusive economy that centers entrepreneurship and innovation - Chris Harris, Senior Program Officer, Kauffman Foundation.

The Employee Ownership Expansion Network (EOX), a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding employee ownership in the United States through the establishment of a network of State Centers for Employee Ownership, has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as part of its Central Standards funding program to support entrepreneurs in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. The grant will support the launch of EOX’s newest state center, the Missouri Center for Employee Ownership (MOCEO), and help to provide resources and education to Missouri and Eastern Kansas business owners, their advisors, and community leaders on the benefits of employee ownership.

According to data analysis completed by the non-profit organization Project Equity (, there are more than 44,000 privately-owned businesses in Missouri owned by individuals over the age of fifty-five. These businesses employ nearly 500,000 workers receiving almost $17 billion in payroll. Over the next 10 years, many of these business owners will retire, yet more than half do not have a succession plan. Historically, only 15 percent of businesses are passed down to family members and only 20 percent of the remaining businesses will find a buyer. As a result, many of these businesses will be sold and potentially leave Missouri or close their doors permanently, resulting in widespread job loss and community impact. It is the mission of EOX and the MOCEO to help lessen the effects of this “Silver Tsunami” of baby-boomer business owners in Missouri and Eastern Kansas.

“This funding from the Kauffman Foundation will support our outreach program to educate economic development leaders, business owners, and many others about our growing succession crisis in Missouri and to generate awareness of employee ownership as a valuable, flexible succession tool that enables owners to sell their businesses to their employees while generating wealth for their employees and helping their communities to thrive,” said Roy Messing, Interim Executive Director of the MOCEO (, one of a growing numbers of EOX state centers dedicated to providing education and resources around employee ownership.

“If we’re going to build the Heartland that includes all communities and voices, we need to start with focusing on growing an inclusive economy that centers entrepreneurship and innovation. As difficult as that work will be, it will be made even more difficult if we try to do it alone and disconnected. Central Standards grantees are partnering and collaborating to build thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems in the Heartland while also connecting the region to the most innovative practices from across the country.” said Chris Harris, Senior Program Officer in Entrepreneurship for the Kauffman Foundation.

“EOX is grateful to the Trustees of the Kauffman Foundation for their early investment in EOX and the MOCEO. We are pleased that they see employee ownership as a valuable addition to the tools they are using to accomplish their mission of boosting entrepreneurship, and helping Heartland communities and individuals thrive,” said Steve Storkan, EOX Executive Director.

To support the work of EOX or to inquire on how you might become involved in this grass roots movement in your state, visit

About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation based in Kansas City, Mo., that seeks to build inclusive prosperity through a prepared workforce and entrepreneur-focused economic development. The Foundation uses its $3 billion in assets to change conditions, address root causes, and break down systemic barriers so that all people – regardless of race, gender, or geography – have the opportunity to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity. For more information, visit and connect with us at and

About The Employee Ownership Expansion Network
The Employee Ownership Expansion Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Philadelphia, PA in 2018. Its mission is to significantly expand employee ownership in the United States by establishing and supporting a network of independent non-profit Centers for Employee Ownership. EOX has provided funding and technical assistance to support the opening of seven state centers for employee ownership. The organization aims to help create one million new employee owners by 2025 by having at least 70 percent of the US population living in a state with a center for employee ownership. Learn more at

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Steve Storkan
EOX Network
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