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What is the program COOPERATIVISE!

Do you have an entrepreneurial idea and want to know how to make it a reality?


The advice and support resources already available in the town must be taken into account. What is more, it is important to remember that, often, young people over the age of 18 have not yet finished their studies, do not know what area of work they want to/can go into, are not interested in entrepreneurship or have never considered it, or do not know what the SSE is and what opportunities it can offer. To respond to this reality and the need of NEET’s (Not Employ, Education or Training), we have designed a programme that aims to stimulate their interest in social entrepreneurship called COOPERATIVISE!

It is a program to support the creation of cooperatives for young people, offering them counseling and advice services. This advice also aims to work on transversal skills, to promote the individual and collective commitment and responsibility of young peolpe with the social, economic and digital challenges of the city of Mataró.

The pedagogical and intervention model of this program is mainly based on putting young people at the heart of the project and promoting their autonomy, giving them tools to self-organize and self-manage their work, encouraging their commitment and responsibility, also facilitating the acquisition of new learning and new personal skills (management, social, personal and work) based on their own abilities and cooperative learning. 



To design COOPERATIVISE! we have drawn inspiration from: 
  • Coopératives Jeunesse de Services (CJS) del Québec: a project focusing on experiential, meaningful, cooperative learning, in which children and young people aged 12 to 18 learn about and experience starting up a worker cooperative during the summer period. During this time, the young participants design, create and manage a (fictional) cooperative, from which they offer services, mainly to individuals, like painting, gardening, maintenance, and are paid for them 
  • The CuEmE programme ( led by Barcelona Provincial Council, which is carried out in primary schools to encourage entrepreneurship among young students. Mataró City Council has been taking part with 4 schools for 3 years now.

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The main objective of the program is to support the creation of cooperatives for young people, to offer assistance and counseling services and to show the advantages of a social economy project. Young people will experience first-hand the process of creating and managing a fictitious cooperative (cooperative simulation), accompanied by professionals with experience in the social economy. We want young people to know the importance of thinking about new business projects that are much more social, cooperative, digital and sustainable.

Based on the main objective of the program, the following secondary objectives are designed:

  • Work on the transversal skills of young people, on a personal and professional level;
  • Encourage the commitment and individual and collective responsibility of young participants to the social, economic, digital and environmental needs of their city;
  • Offer a response from the social economy to the needs of the city through business projects and self-employment.

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The program we have designed consists of a training phase and a practical phase where participants receive, over four months, accompanied and advised so that they know the values ​​of the social economy and how these principles can help to make of his idea an innovative business project.The training phase consists of five dimensions:
  • Contextual dimension: state of the Social and Solidarity Economy in the territory, constitution of cooperatives, statutes, human resources,...
  • Relational dimension: work group, internal organization ...
  • Formal dimension: The rules, the statutes, the internal regulations, the evaluation tools that must manage the cooperative.
  • Economic and commercial dimension: CANVAS Model, market study and commercial support sessions (depending on the service to which the cooperative has decided to dedicate).
  • Communicative dimension: the trainings are combined with visits to cooperative and community projects and environments and with the development of their cooperative.
The practical phase consists of putting into operation, in a fictitious way, the cooperative project that the young people have chosen by consensus. Therefore, they will be able to put into practice in a real way everything they have learned in the training phase and manage a cooperative, learn the day to day management of a business project and solve problems that may arise while selling the product or service they have chosen. During this phase, they will have the support of social educators but also members of the Local Committee (CL).The CL is made up of representatives of 6-8 entities, organizations and companies that represent the territorial, youth and solidarity economy of our city. The main task of CL members will be to mentor and support the cooperative with whatever they may need in their learning process. This involves a wide variety of issues, which will need to be adjusted according to the entities that make up the CL. Some examples are: support in detecting needs; support with program dissemination and search for participants; promote contacts with other companies and entities that may need to develop; possibility of training in a specific field ...

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Due to the socio-economic situation arising from the pandemic, he emphasized the need to deal with it in different ways. For this reason, this program offers the city of Mataró to offer an answer to the crisis from two different areas:
  1. Change the economic paradigm and bet on the social, sustainable, green and digital economy. A more social economy is also more resilient and copes better with crisis situations
  2. Reduce youth unemployment by encouraging social entrepreneurship. We need to show young people that from their own abilities they can be able to raise innovative and social projects that put people at the center and have a positive impact on their environment.
Based on these two objectives, the results obtained in the first edition have been very positive: 13 young people started the training program and 10 young people finished it. Of these, one of the girls is already marketing her cooperative project (Local Radio Network for People with Mental Illness); three other young people are evaluating the possibility of launching a Social Delivery project for purchases in the city's municipal market, through sustainable transport such as cycling; and the last girl has taken care of herself by creating her own photo studio. The rest have returned to study or to the active job search.
With the second edition of COOPERATIVISE! we have tried to make new business activities under the umbrella and values of the ES to achieve greater positive social and environmental impacts, the creation and maintenance of quality jobs and therefore we are committed to a second edition, introducing improvements in the training program, in the practical phase and giving more prominence to the members of the Local Committee to act as mentors with young people.

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