Gripple, the manufacturer of wire joiners and tensions for agriculture, construction and the solar industry, Gripple hosted an employee ownership (EO) day celebration for 70 people at its GLIDE house headquarters in Sheffield recently.
Gripple has been an employee-owned business for almost 30 years and, as an EO Ambassador, is committed to supporting and encouraging other businesses to transition to this model.
Keynote speakers at the EO day event included South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard, Gripple’s Group Managing Director Ed Stubbs and James de le Vingne – CEO of the Employee Ownership Association.
Delegates at the event, who were mainly employee owners or businesses exploring the transition to employee ownership, enjoyed a champagne reception followed by a three-course lunch and speed networking session.
Gripple’s Group Managing Director Ed Stubbs said: “The last few years have been very challenging for business as many of us know only too well. However, in spite of these adverse circumstances, the last reported financial year shows that the combined turnover of the SY EO businesses represented here today was over £400m, representing growth of 15% on the previous year. Together the EO businesses present employ over 2,000 people and last year we created another 100 jobs. I think we can agree this is quite an achievement.”
South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard said: “In South Yorkshire we are leading the way in employee ownership, co-operatives and alternative business models that have the potential to transform our region’s economy. We are proud to host the country’s first Ownership Hub, which is just one example of our ambition, and our commitment to creating an economy that works for everyone; where more wealth is created here, and more wealth stays here. We don’t just want a bigger economy in South Yorkshire, we want a better economy in South Yorkshire.
“We have many businesses in our region just like Gripple that put employees at the heart of their business structure and, in turn, create a flexible and inclusive environment for their companies to thrive in. People see how their contribution directly shapes the wealth and prosperity they enjoy, and production becomes a community-driven effort.”
James de le Vingne, CEO of the EOA, explains: “Employee ownership has incredible transformative potential for UK business. As the sector continues to grow, we want to highlight that EO produces results for businesses, employees, the economy and the planet. That’s why, for this year’s EO Day, our theme is #TheEOeffect – celebrating this fantastic impact is at the heart of our celebrations.”
In its role as an EO Ambassador, Gripple has helped many businesses in South Yorkshire, which have been referred from the Ownership Hub, based at SYMCA (South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority) and the EOA. Recently this has included supporting companies such as Airmaster and Galaxy Insulation. Gripple also supports national businesses, including Go Ape, the outdoors activity company with 34 locations across the UK, which made the transition to EO in 2021.
The event at Gripple was the culmination of a week of activities, with the EO Day campaign expected to reach over 1m users across social media, making this year’s celebration the biggest ever. This 11th annual EO (Employee Ownership) Day involved thousands of employee owners, businesses and supporters of employee ownership from across the UK joining together to raise awareness of the benefits and impact of employee ownership.
This year EO Day celebrated employee ownership’s impact on business, the economy and society as a whole, as well as raising awareness of the journey so far and the opportunity to further grow employee ownership.
This year’s theme for the day is ‘the EO effect’, which focuses on showcasing the benefits of adopting an EO model; employee-owned businesses are often more productive, more resilient and more rooted in their local areas and communities. Employee ownership also promotes investing in the long term and in good job prospects, as well as looking honestly at Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) issues and how best to tackle them.
Gripple currently employs 559 people across seven manufacturing facilities in Sheffield and has over 900 employees globally.
For more details, visit www.gripple.com.