Business View Magazine - Dec 2023

However, even as S-Corporations continue to forge their paths, there remains another crucial component that must be addressed in order for these businesses to sustain their success under the ESOP framework. They need a voice, a trustworthy advocate who can communicate the value of the ESOP framework to the political powers that govern them and keep that structure locked in place. Luckily, Employee-Owned S-Corporations of America (ESCA) has proven itself to be that voice. Based in Washington, D.C., this organization has stood as the exclusive representative of employee- owned S-Corp for the past 25 years. It has consistently followed through on its mission to shed light on the unique ecosystem of employee-owned S-Corporations face by helping the regulatory powers above them understand both the challenges they face and the massive benefits these businesses stand to give to their employees and the general public. THE S-CORP SOLUTION THAT STARTED IT ALL ESCA has a rich history, dating back to the late-to- mid 1990s, and unsurprisingly, its origin reflects the mission and purpose that it continues to honor today. This organization was born from the need of a single business owner of a cheque printing business in Minnesota who found himself at the endpoint of his career. He was looking to transition out of the business, and seeing that his children weren’t looking to inherit the company, an ESOP structure became the next, most viable solution. However, there was just one problem… his business was an S-Corporation, and at the time, S-Corporations weren’t allowed to be owned under an ESOP structure. Fortunately, his business was part of a group called the S-Corporation Association (SCA), which was represented by Stephanie Silverman, whom he contacted about this issue. Silverman immediately took action to create a solution, which came in the form of the SCA forming a team to lobby and work with Congress to make key changes to the rules surrounding S-Corporations and ESOPs. The SCA was highly successful, and those changes were ultimately implemented in a 1996 tax bill that allowed for S-Corp ownership under the ESOP business model. The law was effectively changed and went into effect in 1998, and what started as an isolated case to help a single business owner blossomed into a realization that the ESOP model, specifically for S-Corporations, needed to be safeguarded. So, shortly after, Silverman founded ESCA and to this day acts as its current President & CEO, birthing a legacy of peerless advocacy and protection. 135 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE VOLUME 10, ISSUE 12 EMPLOYEE OWNED S CORPORAT IONS OF AMERICA