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Edinburgh business become Scotland’s first employee-owned childcare firm

Posted: 31st January 2022

OWNERSHIP of an Edinburgh childcare company has been handed over to its 150 dedicated staff in what is believed to be a sector first in Scotland.

Kidzcare has announced its transition to employee ownership with 100% of the company shares now placed into an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) by owner Anne-Marie Dunn who co-founded the successful business in 2001.

The childcare specialists operate four nurseries, four breakfast clubs and six after-school clubs for children, offering options across Edinburgh, from Portobello to Bruntsfield and Fox Covert.

Ownership Associates, a specialist adviser to businesses considering establishing an EOT, provided support to the Kidzcare owner and employees throughout the process in what is believed to be the first business in the Scottish childcare sector to transition to employee ownership.

Anne-Marie Dunn said: “I’m delighted to be able to reward these dedicated and loyal employees by gifting them a share of this brilliant business. The staff at Kidzcare have supported me throughout this journey and I couldn’t reconcile myself to the idea of passing it on to anyone else.

“As I looked to withdraw from the business, I wanted to find an option that rewarded and empowered the staff into the future. As soon as I heard about employee ownership, I was instantly convinced that this was the vehicle to make it happen.

“By becoming employee owned, I am confident that Kidzcare’s values of safety, child development, fairness and kindness will continue, greatly benefiting the children we look after and the people who look after them.”

The business turns over £3 million a year and provides high quality childcare for more than 500 children a day around the city.

Anne-Marie added: “Our current HR Manager, Julie MacKenzie, who has been with us for more than eight years will take more of a managing director role as I gradually step back in the next few months. We have planned for a seamless transition so the business can smoothly enter its next chapter, and crucially, we are in control of how that happens best for all stakeholders.

“The transition into employee ownership has been very easy. Business transactions like this can be daunting and complicated but I have been so lucky to have a team of experienced advisors in Lindsays and Ownership Associates. They have guided me every step of the way. Nothing was a problem for them.”

Carole Leslie of Ownership Associates, who has worked on the transition of more than 80 businesses to the succession model, said: “It has been a great experience assisting Kidzcare to make the move to employee ownership. It was clear that this was the obvious option for the company and I’m certain the firm will fast see the benefits of this model of ownership.

“It has provided an exit plan for Anne-Marie, potentially life changing differences to her staff, and most importantly ensured that the quality of care for children remained at the heart of the business.

“This is a shining example of the business model benefiting everyone involved in the company. It also highlights the strong positives it can have on an industry like childcare.”

Douglas Roberts of Lindsays added: “Kidzcare has a brilliant reputation in Edinburgh and it was an honour to help the company with the legal aspects of its move to employee ownership.

“Parents trust the staff at Kidzcare to look after their children and Anne-Marie trusts her loyal employees to keep the values and high standards of Kidzcare. It was clear that employee ownership was ideal for Anne-Marie’s succession plans and I’m sure Kidzcare will hugely benefit from being employee owned.”

Ownership Associates works exclusively within the employee-owned sector, supporting companies on their move to employee ownership and working with established employee-owned businesses enabling them to maximise the ownership advantage.

For more information on Kidzcare, please visit:

For more information on Ownership Associates, please visit:

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