The North Carolina Employee Ownership Center officially incorporated in May 2019. Its founding board is comprised of leaders who have spent the past several years promoting employee ownership in North Carolina.
As far back as 2014, The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) began promoting the development of state employee ownership centers throughout the country. At that time, Anne-Claire Broughton, founder and interim executive director of NCEOC, and Principal of Broughton Consulting, began planting seeds for the development of a state center in North Carolina by developing relationships with employee owned firms and leaders in employee ownership, as well as meeting regularly with other nascent state centers to trade best practices.
In 2015, The Industrial Commons became active in catalyzing employee ownership in Western North Carolina, and in 2016 the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center raised a great deal of awareness around employee ownership and its role in protecting jobs in NC when it published its report Down Home Capital.
In 2018 a group of partners (Broughton Consulting, the NC Justice Center, Carolina Common Enterprise, and several others) formed an Employee Ownership Steering Committee. This group held several convenings to bring the idea of employee ownership to a diverse audience of businesses, government, and community groups, as well as speaking to business groups throughout the state (including the Durham Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Durham Black Chamber, a group at New Belgium Brewing in Asheville, groups in Charlotte, and groups in Asheboro).
Later in 2018, the city of Durham was one of four cities selected to participate in the Shared Equity in Economic Development (SEED) Fellowship which focuses on bringing the tools of employee ownership to historically disadvantaged business owners. The members of the NC Employee Ownership Steering Committee serve on the SEED Advisory Committee.
The NCEOC became a reality in early 2019 when it received its first round of funding commitments from the Employee Ownership Expansion Network (EOX), a non-profit specifically formed to develop state centers, and the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI), a non-profit focused on promoting social and economic equity for minority communities, followed shortly after by The Industrial Commons.
The founding NCEOC Board of Directors includes Anne-Claire Broughton (Principal, Broughton Consulting, LLC), La-Tasha Best-Gaddy (Business Counselor, SBTDC at NCCU), Patrick McHugh (Senior Policy Analyst, NC Budget and Tax Center), Molly Hemstreet (Executive Co-Director, The Industrial Commons), and Steve Storkan (Executive Director, Employee Ownership Expansion Network).