Young Co-operatives give young people a practical introduction to co-operative enterprise by helping them to set up their own businesses, which are run as co-operatives.
These social enterprises are motivated not just by profit but also by the needs of their members and the wider community.
Initial programmes focused on setting up a retail operation promoting Fairtrade products, for example healthy eating tuck shops. These enable young people to learn about Fairtrade and how it can help to alleviate poverty in the world as well as developing enterprise skills.
The programme has now been expanded to include the Greenfingers horticultural and Recon waste management schemes, with students participating in projects from school growing schemes to recycling co-operatives.
Involvement in a Young Co-operative provides a variety of learning opportunities – business skills, co-operative and democratic working. Young people take control of their own business – selecting and pricing stock, researching markets, devising promotional materials, cash management and so on.
Through Young Co-operatives, young people learn to work together. Each member has an equal stake in the business and an equal opportunity to contribute and make decisions. They run their own meetings and learn about the wider co-operative movement.
Young Co-operatives can keep up to date with each other via the news section of the Young Co-operatives website.
For more information and a free, downloadable Action Kit to help your Young Co-operative get started, please visit the Starting Up section of the Young Co-operatives website.