Print and design firm Wee Blue Coo based in Edinburgh, UK has become an employee owned business to reward employees following their hard work during the global Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
Owners Bob and Joelle Fitzpatrick started the business 15 years ago and employ 30 members of staff, some of whom have been part of the organisation for more than 10 years. According to the couple, this was the next step for their business, and they wanted to give the team an opportunity to help shape its future and have a say in the direction it takes.
The shareholders, who previously gave a 10% shareholding to long-term employee Allan Gray for his hard work and dedication, agreed that establishing an employee ownership trust (EOT) was in line with the organisation’s values, and will protect its future and benefit staff.
The owners started to transition to an EOT at the start of 2021, with the help of Carole Leslie from Ownership Associates, David Morrison and the team at accountancy firm EQ Accountants and staff from law firm Anderson Strathearn.
Bob Kirkpatrick said: “There are perhaps more well-known ways to make an exit from a business, however, this was the only real option to ensure we safeguarded the futures of those who have contributed to our company’s success. An EOT seems like a perfect and logical way to structure any business.”
Joelle Kirkpatrick added that being a people-led business has always been the essence of who the company is, which is why becoming employee-owned was the only option that they seriously considered.
“Running our business this way has ensured we have a motivated and dedicated team who feel valued. That has always been more important to us than the bottom line. Relaying this news to our team has, without a doubt, been the highlight of my career so far,” she said.