U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Polis champions employee-owned businesses

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Washington, July 19, 2018 | comments

The House of Representatives approved Rep. Jared Polis's, D-Colo., amendment to direct the Small Business Administration (SBA) to further promote employee-owned business models. 

“When employees own part or all of a company, turnover is reduced, morale is improved, wages are higher, and the incentives of employees and management are better aligned,” said Polis. “For our economy to be at its best, CEOs shouldn’t be the only ones who benefit from economic growth, employees should have a stake in it too. The principles behind employee-owned businesses transcend party-lines, and I’m thrilled we were able to come together to promote them.”

Polis’s successful amendment specifically blocks off funding within SBA for outreach, education, and technical assistance training on the SBA 7(a)(15) loan guarantee program, which provides financing for employee-owned small businesses. 

There are approximately 86 cooperatives, including many employee-owned businesses, in Polis’s district.

Last year, Polis introduced the Worker Ownership Readiness and Knowledge Act (WORK Act) to increase employee-ownership opportunities. The bill creates a grant program within the Department of Labor to increase employee ownership through technical assistance and education. The Employee Ownership and Participation Initiative grants could be used for education and outreach; participation training; technical assistance, like feasibility studies; and activities facilitating cooperation between employee ownership firms.

Polis is one of the leading voices in Congress in favor of strengthening employee-ownership, and he is a member of the Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus. In addition, he is a leading advocate for making the tax code fairer for employee stock ownership plans and worker cooperatives.

Before serving in Congress, Polis started his first tech company as a college student and followed it up with an electronic greeting card website and Proflowers.com. 


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