Support Initiatives

The #coopyouth network survey highlighted several inspiring initiatives for youth. The initiatives are organised into three sections depending on the different types of support organisations. 

  • Coop-led Initiatives: initiatives for youth created by cooperatives or support organisations for cooperatives such as cooperative federations.
  • Youth Organisations: companies, networks, associations, and/or training programs for youth that help form youth cooperatives.
  • Training Centers: Universities, Cooperative Colleges, networks, government entities, etc. that provide training programs and online resources for youth cooperatives.

Note that these are not an exhaustive list of all support initiatives that exist globally. 

Do you know of a support initiative that should be added to the list? If yes, please send the necessary details to Gretchen Hacquard at hacquard@ica.coop.

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Coop-led Initiatives

Jóvenes AFA, Argentina

Jóvenes AFA is a group created by the Agricultores Federados Argentinos Sociedad Cooperativa Limitada (AFA), the federation for agriculture cooperatives in Argentina. The group is made up of the children of members, employees of cooperatives or youth in rural areas who are interested in cooperatives and the agricultural sector.

Their mission is to promote education in agriculture cooperatives and achieve the development of youth. They work on the formation of leaders, through Cooperative Values and Principles, to improve human capital and the well-being of Argentine families. The program also guarantees the subsistence of small and medium producers in the economic system. Currently the youth groups discuss issues that have come to our youth from the agricultural sector and the towns in the interior of Argentina where cooperatives are present.

They have a 3-year Cooperative Training Course. They train youth as cooperative members, efficient and responsible agricultural producers, and future leaders and committed citizens.

CCUA - National Young Leaders Committee, Canada

The Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA) is the national credit union trade association that created the National Young Leaders Committee (NYLC), a team of up-and-coming credit union professionals from across the country, working to strengthen the Canadian credit union system by bridging generations of leaders. They’re a connection point between today's young leaders, experienced leaders, and the leadership roles that will shape Canada's credit union system of tomorrow.

CCUA has created the National Credit Union Young Leaders Award; NextGen Leadership Intensive; Hike the Hill; and webinars for youth.

Cooperatives UK, United Kingdom

Cooperatives UK is the apex body for the cooperative movement in the UK. Their youth initiatives include:

  • Policy advocacy - They campaigned successfully to remove an age limit on young people joining cooperative societies (16 for membership, 18 for Board positions). They then provided advice to cooperatives on how to engage young people.  
  • Cooperative innovation – In partnership with the pioneering cooperative youth agency AltGen, they ran a Young Cooperators’ Prize. This was run in a collaborative way, with training at a camp linked to our annual Worker Coop Camp. Following a 12-month programme that reached out to 3,000 students and post-graduates cross the UK, five Young Cooperators’ Prize (YCP) winners were chosen. The winners received mentoring support and business advice – in addition to £2,000 in funding. An evaluation of this programme is available on request.    
  • Member activity - There are a range of cooperative networks in the UK that have a focus on youth participation, from the Woodcraft Folk, to the youth network of the Cooperative Party, and the Young Members Board of The Coop Group. An account of one of these members, Cheltenham Star, is here.           

 

INCUBACOOP, Uruguay

INCUBACOOP was created by the Confederación Uruguaya de Entidades Cooperativas (CUDECOOP), the national apex body for cooperatives in Uruguay, to incubate coops through training and development programs. Many pre-cooperative youth groups have used the program for the incubation of cooperatives in sectors intensive in innovation and knowledge.

COOPCONGO, Democratic Republic of Congo

COOPCONGO is the apex for the cooperative movement in the Congo. They created a thematic youth committee called COOPCONGO JEUNESSSE, which is responsible for the promotion and supervision of young people in cooperatives and in cooperative entrepreneurship. As part of ensuring the succession to future generations and preparing the young coop leaders of tomorrow, COOPCONGO now has a cooperative University. Under this leadership, several COOPJEDs (Youth Cooperatives for Development) have been created in the Congo.

COOPCONGO also supports the creation of youth cooperatives, provides technical assistance and expertise to young people in cooperatives, resources to young people in cooperatives, capitalization of youth cooperatives, etc.

Cooperativa de Vivienda Mathzi, Mexico

This is a housing cooperative that is developing a housing community for youth in México. They have also created a financing fund for the development of new youth cooperative enterprises in Latin America.

Grace in Action Collectives, United States

Grace in Action Collectives is a network of youth run and worker owned cooperatives in Southwest Detroit. They provide digital media and organizing training, business development and marketing, printmaking, sound engineering, computer coding, and community-based internet development training.

iCoop, South Korea

iCOOP is a network of consumer coops, producer coops and worker coops and supports social economic organizations. Their youth initiatives include:

  • Project for Youth Cooperative Start-ups: The project was initiated to create jobs and raise awareness of cooperatives among young people. Managed by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, social cooperative iCOOP Cooperative Development Center (iCOOP CDC) of iCOOP, one of its partners, conducted the cooperative incubation programs for cooperatives. iCOOP CDC have supported them by sharing thoughts on business ideas and methodology and helped them with developing business models.
  • Scholarship programs for the youth who study the social economy in universities that have partnerships with iCOOP.     
  • Youth recruitment to our businesses in rural areas.

Investment Guarantee Cooperative Society, Iran

Youth coops normally can't access banking credit, because of real estate collateral. Our coop helps them to access banking credit by guaranteeing their credit.

LCU-SDGs Cooperative Society, Nigeria

Formed to introduce cooperation and cooperatives to students and youth while they are still in their formative years. It is projected to imbibe into students the art of joining hands in self-help to combat the menace of unemployment and disguised unemployment. Membership is open to all students, especially those of Lead City University and the Federal Cooperative College, both in Ibadan. Many of the student members are not from Ibadan City, they are only there for educational purposes.  They are however expected to take the lessons to their home cities and return feedback.  It is basically an offshoot of the LCU-SDGs Academy concept. They also have a youth leadership program.

Nigerian Youth Cooperative Network, Nigeria

The Nigerian Youth Cooperative Network (NYCN-COOP) is the apex body representing the Youth Cooperative Movement in Nigeria (both in and out of school youth). The main activities of the NYCN-COOP is to propagate and spread the gospel of cooperation, its principles and practices, promote cooperative education, carry out research and disseminate information among cooperators and the public in Nigeria (mostly among in and out of school youths) with and for the purpose of creating awareness, informing and re-orientating them about cooperatives, advocating, developing and organizing students and youth cooperatives, also to represent the emerging youth cooperative movement nationally and internationally, and to provide management, consultancy and other advisory services for such cooperatives. Furthermore, NYCN-COOP studies the nature and workings of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the Cooperative Federations in Nigeria, to promote its ideals and principles through conferences, workshops, seminars, press release, and other related activities of youths. The implication is that this will form a basis for eradication of poverty and unemployment. They have Student Cooperative Clubs, sporting activities, and beauty pageantry.

Tagum Cooperative, Philippines

TC Laboratory Coop is a cooperative for minors below 18 years old, under the guardianship of Tagum Cooperative. Its purpose is to train youth in the management and operations of a regular cooperative. It has its own Youth Board of Directors and Committee members and every 2 years there’s a General Assembly of the youth. This is a training ground for them that preares them to be cooperative members and teaches the values of thrift and saving mobilization.

AGACA, Spain

AGACA is an agricultural cooperative federation. They run the Erasmus + LeadFarm project, a training program for young farmers. They also have been promoting activities for three years aimed at young members of cooperatives or the children of members and likely future members. This project is titled JOIN YOURSELF and consists of:

  • Constitution of the Xóven Cooperativista Commission in which the activities and topics to be developed, and the schedule and responsibilities for revitalizing the group will be determined. The topics will basically focus on all aspects related to the incorporation of young people into agricultural and livestock activities and the difficulties, as well as aspects related to access of public support aid, the tax system with the State Tax Administration Agency (AEAT), and Social Security taxation
  • Visit of the Commission or its representatives to a Media Communication or Agrarian Program to promote their empowerment
  • Conference with an autonomous/ provincial person in charge of the AEAT to clear all doubts related to the tax issues of young people in agriculture and livestock.
  • Support and Aid Day.
  • Business, Agrarian and Cooperative Training Trip.
  • Carrying out the JOIN DAY to give visibility to the problems of young farmers to society.
  • Working lunch, closing the annual activity. All these activities are supported by a Non-Profit Private Foundation, with the support of the member cooperatives and the organization of AGACA entity.

Alberta Community and Cooperative Association, Canada

The Alberta Community and Cooperative Association is a not-for-profit cooperative working for the education, development and promotion of cooperatives across Alberta.  Our membership is made up of renowned national cooperatives and smaller community-minded cooperatives and organizations across all industries. Their youth initiatives include:

  • Youth Leadership Program: ACCA’s Cooperative Youth Leadership Program provides an opportunity for youth to develop their leadership and teamwork skills. It is designed to give youth independence and confidence in their abilities while creating lasting friendships. These seven-day programs take place at Goldeye Centre, located near Nordegg, Alberta in the summer every year. This beautiful, remote setting provides the perfect environment to build friendships, discover hidden talents, learn new skills, gain a positive view of the world, and contribute to their own future.    
  • Work Study/Youth Recruitment: Since 2008, our association has placed interns all over the province in various industries to help kick start their careers. Career Focus is an internship program with opportunities as unique as the host organizations they partner with. From marketing and communications, to early childhood development, to accounting and everything in between, they help match your education with an organization that will give you the experience you need to start your career.  This program is geared towards post-secondary graduates who have a degree, diploma or certificate, but who are having a hard time getting relevant experience on their resume.  
  • Youth Leadership Awards: These take place at our signature cooperative conference each year: The Gathering of Alberta Cooperatives. This typically takes place in October and has 4 categories of awards.

Andariega Hemp, Uruguay

They are installed in a Cowork Link, a collaborative workspace. They seek to actively collaborate in the social participation of the young entrepreneur with a cooperative commitment. They work providing collaboration in Community Educational Centers, new ventures in the Cowork, and actively participate in cooperative movements in the region, also working together with Balo Camino, an inclusive collective providing motivation, incentive and tools to diverse women in a state of social vulnerability.

Caja Popular Mexicana SC DE AP DE RL DE CV, Mexico

The cooperative has programs for young people of different ages that involve a training process. They begin to educate them with values and principles from an early age with a program called cooperative apprenticeship. They work on issues of leadership and social commitment. They form youth committees that are trained with all the necessary tools to experience the cooperative movement, as well as programs for young members of legal age through which they learn about leadership, synergy, and our leadership structure so that they get involved and participate. There are also awards for youth committees encouraging their participation in cooperative activities.

Cooperative Heritage Trust UK, United Kingdom

Research is being done here to connect various youth groups in Rochdale together and with other international coop youth groups. This is separate from the Coop Heritage Trust's own community outreach work in Rochdale and Greater Manchester.

Confecoop, Guatemala

Confecoop, the apex body for the cooperative movement in Guatemala, has formed a Committee of Youth Cooperatives.

Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité (CQCM), Canada

CQCM is the federation representing the cooperative movement in Québec. It implements an education and mobilization program for young people throughout the province, thanks to support from the provincial government of the Secrétariat à la jeunesse.

COOMULDESA LTDA., Colombia

It is a cooperative that has a Cooperative Leadership School that has been strengthening for several years, currently in our Cooperative school they offer school training from kindergarten to eleventh grade and technical labour training by competencies, in its Coomuldesa Institute for the solidarity sector of the region and Colombia. 

In addition, they have been working with Aflatoun International on an idea of so-called “solidarity explorers”, a strategy for social and financial education for children and young people. It involves training in the management of finances and social work. This strategy is part of our school of cooperative leaders. They have an academic offer, based on cooperatives from kindergarten to technical training. They are currently processing permits to teach higher or university education.

Cooperativa de Servicios Múltiples del Sector Educatión del Departmento de Lambayeque, Peru

A teachers' cooperative. They train young teachers to promote cooperatives as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Cooperativa Integral de Ahorro y Crédito, Cultura Comunitaria, Guatemala

This is a cooperative that seeks to strengthen the work of promoters, artists, entertainers, cultural managers and groups of young entrepreneurs, increasing their capacities for self-management and for promoting artistic and cultural entrepreneurship projects to generate opportunities for economic and social improvement. The training of young people is focused on the recovery of sustainable artistic and cultural practices in the medium and long term. Likewise, a mid-level educational center trains students about cooperatives and its contributions to the social and economic development of the individual, family and community; and at the end of the degree they can access reimbursable capital to start autonomous and sustainable ventures.

Cooperativa Languiru Ltda., Brazil

A farming production cooperative that provides training for youth, to continue the activity of parents on the farm, and increase the participation in the cooperative.

Cooperativa Sagrada Familia, Honduras

A savings and credit cooperative that empowers itself with the challenge of integrating youth into the cooperative movement, which is why it invests heavily in the inclusion activities carried out by the Youth Committee. Our cooperative created the Youth Committee to carry out training activities for affiliated and community youth in order to create spaces for participation that empower young people in the cooperative movement, ensuring the generational renewal of our institution. As a Youth Committee they carry out workshops, youth meetings, congresses, internships, recreational activities, and reforestation work. They also promote leadership and entrepreneurship as the flagship for youth success.

Cooperativas Agrarias Federadas (CAF), Uruguay

A federation for agriculture cooperatives and rural development societies. The axes of the policies aimed at young people have been the promotion of participation, training and the stimulation of productive initiation. National and regional meetings, courses and talks have been held that give prominence to young people, who in turn energize the life of the communities with social and recreational activities. In the same vein, work has been done with exchange programs, with Canada and Argentina, that allowed young people to leave the country, learn and, on their return, apply and share experiences and knowledge acquired. On the other hand, programs have been carried out to stimulate entrepreneurship for the productive initiation of young producers with the support of CAF and member cooperatives.

Coopertiva Multiactiva de Aporte y Crédito "COOMFONELEC", Colombia

A multi-active contribution and credit cooperative with a desire to encourage young people in the cooperative model through permanent training.

COOPSCO / Fédération québécoise des coopératives en milieu scolaire, Canada

FQCMS is the provincial body that represents the school cooperatives that are COOPSCO members. It supports them in carrying out their business plan and supports them in their offer of services to their owner members. The Federation exercises a mobilizing leadership to ensure their associative and economic development; represents them and defends their common interests; promotes cooperative values and sustainable development.

COPROSEF LTDA., Argentina

COPROSEF is a cooperative for the provision of public and social services (urban and rural energy, telephone, internet, cable, water, sewers, niches and burials). Their youth initiatives include patronage of the school cooperative of the only secondary school in town, training in cooperative values in secondary and primary school, and a cooperative theatre in secondary school.

CSN Cooperativa Financiera, Mexico

A savings and credit cooperative that has a large number of youth members. They have a youth committee for those under 35.

EPICURUS Social Cooperative Enterprise of Collective and Social Benefit (EPICURUS S.C.E.), Greece

Epicurus’ goal is to create alternative, realistic, experimental social activities in education, creation, and art, for the support, bridging and coherence of children in the future, intellectual/thinking people creating in the present, and wise old people holding the knowledge that stems from the past. Their initiatives for youth include workshops of thought, expression, and action; workshops on the practical implementation of agricultural activities, farming, and amateur fishing; organizing and supporting the Youth's General Assemblies;  and organizing and supporting theatrical and artistic events for youths, intellectual/thinking people, wise old people. They offer our multi-purpose social places (the main office in Athens and the multi-purpose social cafe-kitchen on Samos Island) for the above social activities.  Youths' decision making is also addressed. 

Federación de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito de Honduras, Ltda. (FACACH), Honduras

FACACH is a federation of savings and credit cooperatives. FACACH started its Youth Committee in 2015, with the objective of supporting its members in the formation of Youth Committees as stipulated by the Cooperatives Law of Honduras and its Regulations. They promote the participation of youth so that they are incorporated and considered in the actions carried out by each cooperative given their conditions of alternative work, and recreational and training space. They also have a youth leadership program.

Federación de Cooperativas del Paraguay (FECOPAR), Paraguay

FECOPAR is a federation of savings and credit cooperatives. They have programs for the incorporation of Cooperative Education in Formal Education through an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Sciences. They are:

  • A training program for teachers of formal education in cooperatives. Teachers are certified through a program validated by the Curriculum Commission. By 2018 we reached all the departments of our country. Trained teachers in-turn develop the training of young people.
  • Training of teachers in the entire Curricular Plan of the Technical Baccalaureate in cooperatives BT COOP. They provide the necessary materials for the development of this baccalaureate, the Ministry of Education and Sciences provides the resources for teachers.
  • Develop cooperative training for young people (16 to 18 years old) in a laboratory format. 
  • Carry out Financial Education workshops, mainstreaming cooperative principles and values with young university students, in agreement with two Universities. 
  • Youth Committee with a training program for young managers of our federated cooperatives. There are around 60 young people, and annually they have a meeting where they share experiences, reflections, and moments of integration. 

FEVECTA, Spain

A federation of worker cooperatives. Their youth initiatives include promotion of school cooperatives; attention to young entrepreneurs; cooperative talks at the university and professional training institutes and centers; help to create associated work cooperative companies; formation of cooperatives.

Motswedi SACCOS, Botswana

A savings and credit cooperative that has an initiative as a cooperative to recruit youth cooperators to the society and raise awareness about the cooperative business model countrywide, and hence anticipate more youth involvement in the cooperative model. 

National Auditing Union of Workers' Cooperatives, Poland

NAUWC is a federation of labour cooperatives and cooperative organisations. Their youth initiatives include helping open faculties in higher education dedicated to the social economy including cooperatives in order to give students a possibility to choose not only private companies and public enterprises as a form of work but also cooperatives. 

NCM Advocacy Coop, Philippines

An association of coop leaders with the shared goal of promoting and strengthening coops. They developed a two-day module on Reflection on the Fundamentals and Ideals of Coops for existing coop leaders, youth in coops aged 16 to 24, and young professionals employed in coops aged 25 to 35. The participants are generally sponsored by the coops they represent. Youth in coops have been sponsored by a large primary coop, a secondary coop, a union of a provincial coop. The program has been implemented in partnership with CODIS, a secondary coop.

Nepal Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Nepal

This is a large cooperative in Nepal that provides training to youth on youth empowerment and works for their betterment.

Singapore National Coop Federation (SNCF), Singapore

Apex body for coops in Singapore. For youth, SNCF has a suite of programmes and services to raise the awareness of cooperatives, and thus, inculcate entrepreneurial skills and cooperative values amongst the youths. SNCF also supports cooperatives at institute of higher learning, and coop clubs in high schools.

Sistema OCB/ES, Brazil

OCB is the apex for coops in Brazil. OCB runs and supports programs that develop leadership skills for young cooperators. The organization also supports a young cooperative core that operates in the northern region of the state, the core has emerged the development of one of the leadership skills development programs.

Somalia Union Cooperative Movement (UDHIS), Somalia

Apex for coops in Somalia. They provide training for youth to create new youth coops.

Neighboring Food Coop Association, United States

The NFCA is a federation of food coops and start-ups. In addition to peer networking, marketing, and sourcing services, they provide educational resources to their member coops and participate in an undergraduate certificate program in cooperative enterprise in collaboration with a local university and an internship program.

North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), United States

NASCO works with students, housing coops, worker-owners, activists, and community members who are interested in applying cooperative principles to meet their needs and fulfill their missions. NASCO is the network that facilitates mutual aid and support amongst coops. They have a Cooperative Education and Training Institute, which takes the form of an annual conference of cooperators from across the continent. It attracts 400 attendees annually, the majority of whom are under 30 years of age. They also award over 70 scholarships to low-income youth participants, and conduct more than 50 workshops over the course of this three day confrence.  

Their Cooperative Internship Network consists of a summer internship placement service connecting future coop leaders with cooperative career opportunities. This typically involves around 15 paid youth interns. 

NASCO also offers other training and consulting services, like on-site cooperative educational workshops and other assistance tailored to members’ needs. 

KUSCCO LTD, Kenya

KUSCCO is a federation for savings and credit cooperatives. KUSCCO has been training both leaders in the coop movement on importance of having the youth for purposes of succession planning and also to grow the membership of the coops. They have also provided training for young cooperators on different issues.

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Youth Organisations

Coopératives Jeunesse de Services (CJS) France

Over the summer, a group of 12 to 15 young people set up a cooperative business and keep it going. Accompanied by 2 facilitators and supported by a collective of local stakeholders, the cooperators together define different services or products that they offer to residents and surrounding businesses. They develop their activity until they are remunerated for its results. The association provides formational training and mentorship.

Coopératives Jeunesse de Services (CJS) Quebec, Canada

A CJS is 15 young people aged 12 to 17 who pool their resources to offer a range of services to their community through the creation of their own business. The association provides formational training and mentorship.

Worcester Roots, United States

This is a grassroots cooperative incubator that runs a yearly Coop Academy and has run a cooperative education youth leadership program since 2006. Their first youth initiative was the Toxic Soil Busters. Now their youth team, Coop Connections, sells regionally produced coop goods and services at events. This organization also offers a summer training program with many coop workshops and a chance to work on a cooperatively run business. Youth then have the option of participating in a fall Coop Academy alongside older coop entrepreneurs, and receive mentorship and coaching. Youth go on trips to visit regional cooperatives.  Youth are then invited to apply for positions in worker coops in the organization’s  network.

E3Coop, Chile

This network seeks to generate spaces for meeting and disseminating the stories of young cooperative leaders, their learning, and transformational ideas, to disseminate and validate the coop model as an alternative form of youth entrepreneurship. They also seek the implementation of training spaces so that young cooperative leaders can acquire tools that allow them to increase the impact they generate through the management of their cooperatives.

COOPTKAM Company Ltd., Kenya

Cooptkam Company is a youth-led company registered in Kenya to offer capacity building to the cooperative sector through consultancy, management and training. The directors of the company are youths aged 26 years and below, and are former students of The Cooperative University of Kenya, who are trained to run and manage cooperatives.
They provide consultancy, management and training of cooperative leaders and other key stakeholders, especially youth, and motivate them to join up and form cooperatives in order to grow together.

Youth Development Coalition, Zambia

The Youth Development Coalition (YODECO) is a developmental coalition created by Exousia Koinonia Ministries (a Christian church) to service and support youth organisations, cooperatives, networks, foundations, and groups. It serves as a federation for youth in a Christian context. Initiatives include: Youth Development Cooperative Coalition; Youth Cooperative Network; Youth Cooperative Federation; Youth Cooperative Confederation; Youth Thrift, Savings and Credit Union; Youth Workers Cooperatives formation and development; Student Cooperatives; Pupils cooperatives; Student cooperatives federations; Pupils cooperatives federations.

Acteurs Pour une Economie Solidaire au Togo (APES-Togo), Togo

An association for young people, APES’ mission is to participate in the social and economic development of Togo by promoting the full development of the Togolese cooperatives and mutuals. Its youth initiatives include:

  • National Program for the Promotion of Cooperative Entrepreneurship: Technical and financial assistance for the realization and development of cooperative projects for young people and women, in rural and urban areas - in partnership with the Togolese Government Coopermondo-Confcooperative (Italy). 
  • Program “Laboratorio di imprenditoria cooperativa e cooperazione allo sviluppo”: Technical and financial assistance for the realization and development of cooperative projects for young people and women, in rural and urban areas - in partnership with the Club Giovani Soci of the Italian Federation of Banks of Crédit Coopératif (FEDERCASSE). 
  • Program "Learning to be an entrepreneur through cooperation": Promotion of the cooperative spirit and initiation into cooperative entrepreneurship, among children and young people aged 5 to 17 in Togo - in partnership with the Quebec Council for Cooperation and of Mutuality. 
  • African Youth'SSE Cooperation Program: Program promoted by the Pan-African Youth Forum, aimed at young people and women in African countries. The African Youth’SSE Cooperation Program aims to promote cooperative development and create cooperative links between young people from here and elsewhere, with particular emphasis on opportunities for collaboration with the African diaspora.

Action Sociale et d'Organisation Paysanne (Youlima), Democratic Republic of Congo

Youlima is a network for young people working in the agricultural sector. They provide training for young people in the design of business plans. They connect young people with microfinance institutions for credit and provide coaching in the creation of cooperatives.

Aflatoun International, the Netherlands

Aflatoun International creates high-quality curricula, for different age groups, which are contextualised and implemented by local partners. They build the capacity of trainers within cooperatives to empower youth with social, financial and entrepreneurial skills.

Africa's Young Entrepreneurs (AYE), South Africa

AYE unites and empowers young entrepreneurs in Africa to network socially and financially, thereby developing a generation of outstanding entrepreneurs. They provide mentorship and grants.

International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF), United Kingdom

ICMIF is the global trade association for cooperative and mutual insurers worldwide. Their Young Leaders activities include a Young Leaders Forum (YLF) made up of young employees (under 35) of our member companies (mutual/cooperative insurers). This is a network which meets every 3 months and shares and discusses best-practice and strategic intelligence (on both issues relating to younger generations and wider issues), engages in collaborative working projects (reports, webinars) and inputs into the agenda of ICMIF's Intelligence Committee (a Board sub-committee made up of strategic leaders at member companies). The YLF acts as a platform for younger employees to develop personal and professional skills, made new contacts among their peers and learn about global issues (of insurance and mutuality). 

The second area of activities is a Young Leaders Programme. This unique programme is designed for young professionals (generally aged between 18 and 35) from mutual, cooperative and member-owned insurers who have been identified by their seniors as strong candidates to become future leaders within their organisations. It gives them the chance to attend the full ICMIF Conference (primarily for CEO/Chairs of members), as well as participate in exclusive breakfast sessions and networking events designed specifically to meet their interests. 

The first ICMIF Young Leaders Programme was held alongside the 2017 Biennial Conference in London, UK, and was attended by 55 young leaders from 31 member companies in 16 countries. The event was hugely successful and received excellent feedback both from the young leader attendees and from their senior managers who had sent them to attend the programme in London. Again, the YLP programme provides an opportunity for ICMIF members to both develop and reward their younger and high potential employees, exposing them to wider issues impacting the insurance industry, strategic best-practice and mutuality on a global scale.  

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Training Centers

UK Cooperative College, United Kingdom

The Cooperative College is an education charity, which through cooperative education, values and principles, aims to build a fairer world. Youth is an important strand in the work of the UK Cooperative College. They provide courses to support young people in skills development, both funded by UK organisations and as part of EU funded projects. They deliver UK projects to support disadvantaged young people explore setting up cooperatives of all forms and to develop pro cooperative behaviours. This is currently funded by governmental, cooperative and non-cooperative donors. They are also heavily engaged in International Cooperative Development, supporting cooperatives and communities improve their circumstances. Much of their work focuses on empowering under-represented groups such as women and young people. They currently work in Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and Sri Lanka and have been funded by governmental and cooperative donors.

At the Cooperative College most of the work is project based, opposed to ongoing initiatives per se.  In their International Cooperative Development work, they have leadership programs for young people and deliver training for coops to encourage the inclusion of young people.  They offer skill building courses to young people in the UK, working largely with disadvantaged groups, but subcontracted from other charitable organisations. Their UK projects include elements of leadership training, but it is not the sole aim.

Florida Cooperative Empowered Economic Development, United States

Florida-CEED exists to provide cooperative business education, technical and on-going assistance, as a strategy to broaden ownership and improve economic conditions. They also develop youth coops based on the model Liga de Cooperativas de Puerto Rico. They have 3 youth initiatives:

  • Pilot after school program in 13 title one schools, grade 3-5 
  • A nationally accredited private, nonprofit middle school able to launch youth coops.
  • Youth Empowerment Initiative, a youth farm with an agriculture, culinary, leadership, and entrepreneurship component.

Conseil de la coopération de l'Ontario, Canada

A non-profit social enterprise that works to ensure the promotion, sustainable development and innovation of cooperatives and social enterprises (which together they call collective enterprises) in Ontario. They are leading players in community economic development. They pursue research and social innovation, and are experts in organizational management.

Their youth initiatives include the training of several thousand young people per year; training in financial literacy and collective leadership; creation of youth service cooperatives; sharing of job offers in the cooperative movement; scholarship and reward programs for committed young people.

Ola Cooperative Foundation (OCF), Nigeria

Ola Cooperative Foundation (OCF) is the first cooperative foundation in Nigeria, dedicated to the promotion of youth and cooperative development. Their objectives are to promote cooperative principles, help in the formation of cooperative societies, help in forming youth cooperatives, preaching the 'Power of Cooperative' among youth, creating Cooperative awareness among youth using an online platform, and developing a job portal for cooperative youth graduates. Due to lack of funds, the training is done online (using WhatsApp).

The Cooperative Educators Network at Ed.coop, United States

The Cooperative Educators Network (CENet) is a hub for educational resources and materials for teaching and learning about cooperative enterprises. Here you will find several free curated learning paths designed to help youth self-teach to increase their awareness, knowledge or skills, or for someone in an educator role to gather materials to use in the teaching of others. The online community (public, open and free) offers educational content, and a link to 50+ coop libraries online, and connects people at all stages of their learning journey to the broader collection of cooperative education opportunities. This is a project of the Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE).  ACE is an association of educators and organizers working to improve education in the coop system while developing the system as a whole. 

BC Cooperative Association, Canada

The BC Coop Association (BCCA) is the knowledge and resource centre for coops in British Colombia (BC), where coops and credit unions come together to collaborate, network, get support, learn, and contribute knowledge to shape BC’s coop movement.
The BCCA’s Coops in Schools (CIS) Program is a province-wide initiative that increases youth awareness about the cooperative model and sector. CIS offers young people a unique opportunity to participate in customized activities, lessons, and events during the academic year while connecting with local cooperatives, credit unions and coop mentors. The CIS Program includes the following components:  

  • Mentorship Program: The 4-month professional mentorship program that provides students with the opportunity to learn from mentors who champion and work directly with the coop model. It fosters the development of productive, ongoing relationships between students and the sector.    
  • Coop Crawl: This provincial-wide, day-long tour of local coops gives secondary and post-secondary students the chance to learn about and connect with a variety of cooperatives directly from the people who work in these enterprises.    
  • Coops 101 Presentation and Learning Activities: A three-hour presentation that delivers fundamental coop knowledge to students through engaging interactive learning activities. The content of Coops 101 is fluid and can be tailored to different audiences, depending on their interests and motivations for attending.

Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives, Bhutan

The government agency for cooperatives in Bhutan. They have Capacity Building Programs for youth addressing entrepreneurship, skills building, hand holding support, governance, leadership, start up resources, etc. They also offer financial and technical support, value addition equipment support, and facilitate marketing.

Economic and Social Development Center of Palestine (ESDC), Palestine

This is an NGO focusing on cooperative development that offers the following social and economic youth programs and services: youth camps; training for youth; cooperative specialists; village savings and lending associations; employing youth in cooperatives.

Fundación Mapocho, Chile

Fundación Mapocho is a NGO that works on impact agents’ empowerment through communication skills and discourse framing. It started organizing independent TED events (under the TEDx license) in vulnerable areas of Santiago, and now it has continued to work with different social agents to mobilize their ideas, working specifically with cooperatives and young cooperators in the country.

E3coop is an initiative of the Fundación that works with young coop leaders to visualize the importance of the cooperative sector in the country, promote their ideas and values, and even help them mobilize resources and frame their projects and ideas in an eloquent and fashionable way. They also set-up an event and work along with the public that is interested in the cooperative model to help spread the word about coops and their sustainable and social impact. Their plan is to focus exclusively on young coop leaders from various sectors and regions in the country.

Ihlumelo, South Africa

This company provides targeted business support services focused on vulnerable/marginalised SMMEs, NPOs and cooperatives. They provide training, capacity for youth to establish and register cooperatives; business support to youth owned SMMEs and Coops-to register SMMEs and coops; business planning, leadership and management skills;  assist with project Management and support; and assist with fund-raising initiatives and incumbent financial management.  

Mongolian Cooperative Training and Information Center (MCTIC); and the National Cooperative Alliance, Mongolia

They provide capacity building projects and training programs for coops and small businesses. MCTIC's main goal is to support cooperative business models to ensure sustainable and equal growth for society (for women, men and youth) in both urban and rural areas. MCTIC encourages rural/local development to involve young people in project activities and programs. MCTIC tries to employ and collaborate with young people focusing on their passion and behavior and tries to teach appropriate skills. For instance, MCTIC hired a young professional to be a Youth and Gender Specialist. Half of the nine full time staff are under 35 years old. This year MCTIC will offer a leadership program for young and new members of rural coops. They also created Workcentral Mongolia, a startup hub.

Africa Cooperatives University of South Africa

ACU-SA was founded by three community members of Soweto in Protea Glen, South Africa. The founding of this university was influenced by a concern to increase access to quality higher education in South Africa and Africa at-large. The kind of higher education that ACU-SA seeks to provide is that which focuses on the principles of a shared economy and grassroot interventions. The programmes of the institution provide skills to work in the community enterprise sector locally and globally. The community enterprise sector is made up of cooperatives, charitable non-profits, community-based structures and non-governmental organisations. They have several different diplomas that run from 6 months to 4 years.

Botswana Cooperative Training Centre

Botswana Cooperative Training Centre is the only cooperatives training institution in Botswana. It is in the education and training division in the federal Department for Cooperative Development in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry. It trains members of the cooperative movement, employees, board members, employees of the department, and also groups that aspire to form cooperatives. It further provides entrepreneurship training to marginalized groups (youth, people living with disabilities, women, and people living in rural/remote areas). The institution offers a level 5 Certificate in Cooperative Business Management and other short courses. All the courses are provided for free, with the government bearing all the costs.

Centro Internacional de Economia Social y Cooperative, Chile

A university specialising in the social economy and cooperatives. 

Cooperative Management Education, Saint Mary's University, Canada

Our master's level business programs for coops/CUs are online and they host executive education courses in various cities (Winnipeg, Vancouver, Guelph ON, Washington DC, Manchester UK, etc). They educate people who are working in cooperatives to develop their leadership and career trajectory. They offer management and leadership programs. International programs and conferences bring coop professionals together.

Cooperativa Latinoamericana de Ahorro y Crédito Utrahuilca, Colombia

This is an auxiliary and autonomous body of the solidarity economy sector, with self-managing capacity that leads education and cooperative integration at the local, regional and national level with the development of educational, social, political, cultural, sports and environmental programs. They developed a Cooperative College that provides preschool, basic primary and basic secondary education. It also has Recreational Project that offers a series of recreational activities in sports, art and community journalism. At the university level in the organization there is an Interdisciplinary Group which is made up of more than 50 young people from different undergraduate careers. This group is responsible for the education and training program for associates, workers and the community linked to the Utrahuilca Cooperative. There is also the School of Leadership and Political Thought, the mission of which is to train people capable of acting politically with solidarity leadership, in the integral development of society. 

Moshi Cooperative University, Tanzania

Moshi Cooperative University (MoCU) offers cooperative and business education both in undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The University has been grooming experts (who are employed in different institutions within and outside Tanzania) in cooperative development, accounting, management, marketing, and auditing. The greatest obligation of the University is to provide the best possible education for their students, developing their intellect, equipping them with the appropriate knowledge and skills and preparing them for lifetime learning so that they become what the society needs.

Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia

Created by socially owned cooperatives, this university provides basic, intermediate and advanced solidarity economy courses; degree options to contribute to the strengthening of cooperativism in particular and the social and solidarity economy in general; Rymel Serrano competition for Solidarity Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation; international internships with sector organizations; youth-led research through the research hotbeds; entrepreneurship awards for associative and solidarity business ideas. 

The INDESCO Institute of Social Economy and Cooperativism is the mother cell of the Cooperative University of Colombia. Currently it manages knowledge about the dynamics of the solidarity economy in the university and articulates a university ecosystem that allows it to generate synergies in and for the social economy and solidarity at the national and international level.