Gripple employees take full ownership

Way forward: Mark Edmonds, managing director of Gripple Limited
Way forward: Mark Edmonds, managing director of Gripple Limited
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Leading Sheffield innovator Gripple has become 100 per cent owned by its employees.

Every one of the 170 Sheffield-based and 105 overseas employees has bought a stake in the pioneering Savile Street East company, founded by entrepreneur Hugh Facey more than 20 years ago, investing, on average, £12,500 apiece during their time with the firm.

Because Gripple is a private company, the value of the shares aren’t determined by the Stock Market, which means the price the employees pay depends on the company’s financial performance – and, while the company has been keen to encourage employee share ownership, it does not discount that price for employees or give them shares.

However, Gripple reckons that an investment made in 1994 has increased in value by more than 20 times.

Gripple managing director, Mark Edmonds, said: “The company is in the hands of entrepreneurial and innovative staff and, as such, we are custodians of each other’s money.

“Employee ownership fosters openness, trust and ensures everyone has an opportunity to learn about the business and become more involved, if they so wish. Commitment levels have always been high, but I think 100 per cent employee ownership gives us that extra sense of accountability and common purpose. We’re absolutely delighted to have everyone on board.”

Last year the Employee Ownership Association presented Gripple with the Phillip Baxendale Award for promoting an employee ownership culture.

Award judges said at the time: “The remarkable thing about Gripple is that it can back everything up with evidence.

“Many nominees say how great their company was but couldn’t prove it. Gripple sustains a positive working culture in a successful business environment. Attendance rates and retention levels are strong indicators that Gripple is a great place to work.

”The fact that Gripple employees have seen their share value grow so significantly is tangible proof that Gripple gets it right. The company is genuinely a beacon of employee ownership.”