Empowering Youth Through Social Entrepreneurship
In the heart of Europe, there are approximately 250,000 cooperatives employing 5.4 million workers, with about 163 million co-operators. The cooperative sector plays a significant role in job creation across Europe, offering quality employment and high-quality workplaces. These cooperatives have shown remarkable resilience during challenging times, such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
These cooperatives are deeply rooted in local communities, working in the best interest of the entire community and its local representatives. What makes them unique is their dedication to employing individuals who may be struggling or excluded from society, both socially and professionally. Furthermore, cooperatives operate on transparent principles, which can be especially appealing to young workers. Values like democratic management, solidarity, cooperation, and the pursuit of social goals provide a sense of purpose and agency.
The cooperative movement has a history of supporting young people, such as student cooperatives. These collaborative efforts between adult cooperatives and young people are invaluable. By working together, we can equip young individuals with the competencies and practical skills they need for entrepreneurship and social competence. These skills go a long way in helping them navigate their lives in society and the job market, regardless of whether they choose a future with cooperatives or another career path.
Fostering Active Citizenship and Youth Entrepreneurship
Our project primarily targets young people, particularly those at the upper secondary and post-secondary education levels. This broad scope was the basis of our project’s design. It aims to provide knowledge and competencies in social entrepreneurship to a wide range of young people, including those at risk of social exclusion, future clients of cooperatives, and local government representatives. The project aims to empower young individuals with entrepreneurial skills and nurture desirable social attitudes such as sensitivity, a sense of agency, solidarity, empathy, and pro-social activity.
Our project addresses the overarching priority of including marginalized youth groups and making training and education more accessible to them.
A Partnership for Positive Change
Each of our partner organizations has years of experience in the fields of social economy, education, and youth work. We have identified shared challenges and complementary solutions that draw on our expertise. We aim to achieve the following objectives:
Promote cooperative culture and values among young people.
Develop social and entrepreneurial competences in young individuals to enhance their participation in society and the workforce, ultimately reducing social inequalities.
Improve the quality of social entrepreneurship education.
Strengthen the student cooperative sector through international experiences and digital competence enhancement.
Foster cooperation between adult cooperatives and the education sector.
Promote equal opportunities for marginalized groups, ensuring that the tools and methodologies developed by the project are accessible and reduce barriers to participation.
This project introduces innovative approaches to engage and empower young people. By combining the potentials of the education and cooperative sectors and integrating digital technologies and sustainable green practices, we hope to create a lasting impact. Our project encourages collaboration between different sectors and has the potential to address youth activation comprehensively. It provides a space for practical education, fosters skills of cooperation, and offers real-world experiences in a rapidly changing world.
Unlocking Synergies and Creating Positive Change
This project creates synergies between various fields of education, training, and youth. The education sector will benefit from a new partner and tools for social entrepreneurship education. The cooperative sector will gain more prospective employees, partners, and customers. Both sectors will collaborate, enabling the realization of goals that go beyond the project’s timeframe.
The involvement of local stakeholders, especially local government representatives, further strengthens these synergies. By working together, we can support young people in their journey toward independence in the labor market and empower local communities as a whole.
This project, based on the unique expertise of each partner, goes far beyond what could be achieved by a single country. It leverages international collaboration, enabling the exchange of best practices, tools, and resources. This approach unlocks synergies that have the potential to create a lasting impact and support young individuals in their social, professional, and civic development.