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The Local Butcher Shop sells locally sourced and sustainably raised meat. Credit: Kevin Meynell

The Employee Ownership Catalyst Fund

Securing business legacy for resilient jobs and communities

Why we invest in employee ownership

A Fund for Stronger Local Economies

Local businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. However, today they face twin crises: COVID-19 coupled with the existing silver tsunami of baby boomers’ retirements that impact nearly half of all job-creating small businesses.

One out of 20 businesses expects to permanently close their doors.

Selling to employees can keep these businesses and their jobs in communities by increasing the viable pool of buyers and tapping the energy of the next generation to address today’s business challenges.

Employee ownership builds more resilient local economies with stronger small businesses, higher-quality jobs and creates a path to business ownership for low-income workers and workers of color. But there is limited financing available to help businesses make this powerful transition.

Project Equity Employee Ownership Catalyst Fund

The fund:


Catalyzes employee ownership, including for smaller businesses that face significant barriers to accessing capital from most lenders


Expands the pipeline of businesses that can consider employee ownership


Provides working capital to these businesses to help build back from the COVID-19 crisis and begin the employee ownership transition

Why we partner with Project Equity

Project Equity has a strong track record of engaging small businesses to learn about employee ownership through a national network of partners. Project Equity provides pre-to-post transactional support to help selling owners make the employee ownership transition. This strategy cements selling owners’ legacies and gives them a fair sale price (often with significant tax benefits) for their life’s work.

The fund is designed to provide a revolving pool of capital for financing employee ownership for years to come. Capital from the fund will be deployed to small businesses to assist their transition to employee ownership and support business continuity.

For more information on investment opportunities, reach out to [email protected].

The fund is currently open to accredited or certain charitable investors.

More about Project Equity

Project Equity is a national leader in the movement to harness employee ownership to maintain thriving local business communities, honor selling owners’ legacies, and address income and wealth inequality. Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, Project Equity works with partners around the country to raise awareness about employee ownership as an exit strategy for business owners, and as an important approach for increasing employee engagement and wellbeing. Project Equity also provides hands-on consulting and support to companies that want to transition to employee ownership, as well as to the new employee-owners to ensure that they, and their businesses, thrive after the transition.

Meet portfolio company The Local Butcher Shop

Founded in 2011 by Monica and Aaron Rocchino, The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, CA, offers home cooks the highest quality, locally and sustainably raised meat from their retail storefront in Berkeley, within a block of Chez Panisse.

The Rocchinos are sold the business to a core group of current employees who will become the new worker-owners, just in time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the shop.

The Employee Ownership Catalyst Fund, launched in partnership with national nonprofit Project Equity, invested in The Local Butcher Shop to support the transition.

When employees become owners, they can help preserve good jobs and rebuild local economies.

The Local Butcher Shop, Berkeley, CA

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