The AEOA was founded in 1986 to promote employee ownership (or co-ownership) of the businesses where the employees work. It was formed by 20 companies as a member-focused, non-profit, private sector association to assist members with their employee ownership and participation efforts.
It's mandate was to help Australian companies, trade unions and governments attain greater productivity and flexibility in the business sector, and to provide new jobs for Australians through shared ownership, employee incentives and workplace participation.
The AEOA serves to protect its member's interests through monitoring government activity and mobilising members and the community to protect the gains that employee ownership has made and the rights of employees in Employee Share Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and other employee share schemes.
For much of its early life the Association was chiefly educational in its focus. However, in the past fifteen years, the AEOA has had to become more politically active. This was prompted by Federal Government measures in the mid 1990's which threatened the very existence of Employee Share Ownership Plans (ESOPs) in this country.