SPEECH recognition software firm Voice Technologies has followed in the footsteps of retailer John Lewis by transferring ownership of the business to its staff.
The company, which employs 24 people across its offices in Paisley and Sheffield, was founded in 1996 by Heather Wylie, who decided to sell a controlling stake to an employee benefit trust for an undisclosed sum.
Wylie, who retains a 25 per cent holding in the company, said: “We could have acquired other businesses to deliver growth or made strategic investments in others, but this traditional route involves debt and takes important focus away from the things that count when running a successful business. Being acquired would also have ushered in a set of changes that I was determined to avoid.
“By becoming employee-owned, everyone with the business owns part of the business. We felt that shared ownership offered a unique and entrepreneurial way forward, and one that will help provide security and drive growth.”
Voice Technologies’s technical director Alistair Graham has been promoted to chief executive following the deal. The firm received advice on its transition to employee ownership from Baxi Partnership and Co-operative Development Scotland.
• Bellshill-based Automatic Retailing has been rescued from administration, securing the jobs of 23 employees. The vending machine supplier has been bought for an undisclosed sum by Automatic Retailing Vending of Northumberland – a similarly named but unrelated firm.
Administrator Derek Forsyth, of accountant Campbell Dallas, said: “The support of the company’s customers, suppliers and employees has been critical to the successful sale.”