Cooperative Maine Business Alliance will present a program about converting businesses to employee ownership, including a film, panel discussion and presentation of Knox and Waldo county research findings, at the Crosby Center in Belfast Thursday, May 17, from 6 to 8 p.m.

"We the Owners: Employees Expanding the American Dream" is the story of three small businesses’ path to worker ownership, told by the workers themselves. The 55-minute film profiles New Belgium Brewing, DPR Construction and Namasté Solar and their worker-owners.

Growing attention is being paid to the looming retirement of business owners over the next decade, and the potential loss of jobs and economic activity those businesses provide. As the oldest state in the nation, this threat looms large for Maine in particular.

“Thousands of Maine business owners — employing tens of thousands of Mainers — will be looking to retire soon, and many do not know what to do with their business. Converting those businesses to employee ownership offers tremendous benefits to owners, workers and their communities,” said Rob Brown, director of business ownership solutions at the Cooperative Development Institute.

The event will include a panel discussion with two local employee-owned companies: Allen Insurance and Financial of Camden and Rock City Employee Cooperative of Rockland.

In addition, Midcoast Leadership Academy will share findings from a research effort on business preservation in Knox and Waldo counties, developed in collaboration with the Cooperative Development Institute: “Sustaining and Growing our Employment Strength Through Cooperatives.”

To learn more visit, or, or call Rob Brown of the Cooperative Development Institute at 233-2987.

The program is being produced in partnership with Cooperative Development Institute and Midcoast Leadership Academy, and is sponsored by Maine Community Foundation, The Broadreach Fund and the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation.