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Bosses of Finsbury Park company give business away – to own employees

The Outlandish team with MP Jeremy Corbyn (centre) Harry Robbins (centre left) and Tamlyn Rhodes (second left) The Outlandish team with MP Jeremy Corbyn (centre) Harry Robbins (centre left) and Tamlyn Rhodes (second left)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
10:13 AM

Bosses of a tech start-up company have bucked the trend of fat cat bonuses by giving the business to their own employees.

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Outlandish, in Wells Terrace, Finsbury Park, made the generous gesture on Friday to mark UK Employee Ownership Day.

The company, which builds websites for organisations like the BBC and King’s College London, was formed in 2010 and now has an annual turnover of £1million.

Co-founder Tamlyn Rhodes, who lives in nearby Portland Rise, said: “Like most knowledge-based companies the value of Outlandish is the people that work for it not the machines that it owns.”

“If people are creating the value through their hard work and ingenuity, it’s only right that they should get to own what they create.”

Fellow founder Harry Robbins, a former pupil of Acland Burghley School in Tufnell Park, added: “Traditional business models aim to make money by underpaying workers or overcharging clients – we want to do something different.

“John Lewis was gifted to its workers because its founder also believed that the best way to make satisfied workers and clients was to make sure that the people that really understood the business – the workers – also owned company”.

“Like John Lewis we want to make a company that’s satisfying to work for and which provides a great service to its clients. We want to change the digital sector for the better and build something that will still be here 150 years from now, not the next temporary trend.”

Outlandish are now calling on the Government to make it easier for other companies to become employee owned.

Mr Robbins said the process needs to be made easier, because Whitehall currently offer “virtually no guidance”.

Speaking at Outlandish’s re-launch as an employee-owned company Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North which covers Finsbury Park, said: “I welcome and applaud this great local effort to create fulfilling jobs and provide training in Islington and hope that Outlandish’s model can be replicated in many areas.”

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