In this blog, our Fundraising Officer Paul looks at how our Together Enterprise project offers the opportunity for young people to set up their own co-operative businesses, just like the original pioneers many years ago.

Rochdale is rich with co-operative heritage. In 1844 the original Rochdale pioneers established the first modern co-operative in Toad Lane, Rochdale, now the site of the historic Rochdale Pioneers Museum on the outskirts of the town centre. Their co-operative shop was rooted in its community and driven by distinctive values and principles. Recently, Rochdale Council and partners renewed their commitment to embracing their co-operative heritage with the Co-operative Heritage Action Zone plan, which will be a catalyst of regeneration in the town centre. The plan means that many old co-operative buildings will restored to their former glory and will again buzz with activity.

The Together Enterprise project, based at the bottom of Drake Street and right in the heart of the Heritage Action Zone, will support this initiative by providing support to young people to try out setting up their own co-operative enterprise. Young people will get the opportunity to develop new skills, experiences and friendships along the way.

10 Drake Street - home of the Together Enterprise Project

Just what is the co-operative difference?

Co-operatives have a lot to offer young people, especially at a time of such uncertainty in the job market and the rise of precarious work. Since the time of the Rochdale pioneers, co-operatives have grown out of the spirit of self-help to improve conditions at times of difficulty. Self-employment is increasingly becoming a real option for many young people, but the mutual form of self-employment that co-operatives offer is empowering. It brings individuals together to form mutually supportive groups, with common goals to fulfil their own economic and social needs.

What exactly is involved?

Building on the success of the Co-operative College’s previous Young Co-operatives work, this pilot project will involve participants learning about co-operatives, co-operative ways of working and enterprise in interactive sessions. Those involved will also develop key co-operative skills such as team working, self-confidence and group decision making.

The project will consist of:

  • Four intensive full day skills based workshops.
  • A co-op development period led by mentors.
  • A Co-op launch party and crowdfunding.
  • Ongoing support from mentors and the local community.

Together Enterprise, will bring people together using co-operative values and principles. It will also bring the whole Rochdale community closer together and improve the prospects of many young people, empowering them to reach their full potential.

Would you like to read more? You can see further details about the project, and  a fantastic video showcasing the businesses that young people would like to see in Rochdale, via the button below

Together Enterprise project details >>>