Deputy PM, Nick Clegg, MP for Sheffield Hallam , underlined his firm belief in employee ownership by officially opening a second office of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), which is in Sheffield on the premises of Gripple Limited – one of the UK’s best examples of the effective and increasingly popular business culture.

The EOA’s chief executive, Iain Hasdell joined Gripple chairman, Hugh Facey, and a number of the company’s business associates, to witness Nick Clegg ‘cutting the ribbon’ and participate in a question and answer forum.

Nick Clegg MP said: “I am a strong advocate of co-owned firms because they put more people in the driving seat and allow employees to reap the benefits of their hard work. All the evidence shows that these companies are more successful and leading to faster economic growth. You only have to look at Sheffield’s Gripple to see just how successful an employee owned business can be.

“Employee ownership is a way of being your own boss and I want to do everything possible to see it entering the bloodstream of the British economy. Therefore, I am delighted that our city will be home to an Employee Ownership Association office dedicated to promoting this way of doing business.”

During the official opening of the office, specially created in Gripple’s headquarters – The Old West Gun Works on Savile Street East – Iain Hasdell commented: “EOA should never lose touch with the fact that the real value of employee ownership is being seen in towns and cities across the country. So, it should come as no surprise that we are opening a second office here, in Sheffield.

“This is a critical time for employee ownership. There is much to be positive about but also so much more that needs to be done to improve the climate for employee owners.

“Employee ownership provides a brilliant opportunity for the UK economy. Together we must continue to promote employee ownership and make the case for structured, specific, reforms that will encourage its growth.”

Every member of Gripple’s 350-strong workforce is a shareholder of the world beating, multi-awarding manufacturer of unique wire joining devices, and has a vested and personal interest in the values-driven, single-status company’s continuing success at home and overseas. Mr Facey is a firm believer in employee ownership, has been an EOA board member for a number of years and an unflagging ‘flag bearer’ for the ethos.

Hugh Facey said: “Gripple is in the hands of entrepreneurial and innovative staff who 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% employee ownership gives us that extra sense of accountability and common purpose. We’re absolutely delighted to have everyone on board.”