Save the date : November 9th, 2017 at the European parliament in Brussels

Conference 2 : SSE and Youth – concrete experiences/education and training


1. Context and importance of the topic

European youth is confronted with a European context marked by a series of economic, social and environmental crises, in which political entities appear to be deprived. Since 2000, the unemployment rate for young Europeans has fluctuated between 15 and 25%, well above the rest of the population (7-11%) .1 This is to be seen in the light of a growing lack of interest among young people, vis-à-vis political bodies, leading in particular to a decline in participation in elections.2

Nevertheless, it would be wrong to conclude from this that the new generations are resigned. The engagement of young Europeans is changing and is growing rapidly in local organizations.3 This trend seems to reflect the increasing interest of this part of the population in the ESS to work there and launch their own activity.4

If the conditions are met to allow a genuine progression of the social and solidarity economy in Europe, the existing structures seem still ill adapted to these developments.

a) Although the cooperative model is one of the most resilient in times of economic crisis, entrepreneurship education tends to prioritize the creation of small, individual enterprises.5

b) At the same time, the traditional governance models of cooperative movements are now doubly upset: from the inside, by their apparent difficulty in allowing a real anticipation of the generational transition; from the outside, by the massive emergence of collaborative practices favoring peer exchange and sharing.

c) Finally, the potentials of cooperative entrepreneurship seem to be struggling to materialize. As a vehicle for social and economic innovation, the cooperative form is recognized as being more inclusive and having better success rates than classical firms.6 However, cooperative entrepreneurs currently seem to be excluded from the necessary financial tools7 to ensure effective penetration of new markets, especially on-line.


2. Issues and main issues (sub-themes, challenges, issues to be discussed) around which to organize contributions and debates

How to Massify Co-op Education?
What levers should be activated, which would increase the number of young people trained in this model?

How can we make co-operative governance frameworks more inclusive so as to allow for a generational transition and a better understanding of the aspirations of young people?
What lessons and tools can we draw from the emergence of the collaborative economy, to renew cooperative governance models?

Can co-operative entrepreneurship become massive?
What tools should be developed to enable the development of cooperative entrepreneurship in Europe?

3. Existing good practices

(a) Education

Federations of cooperatives are mobilizing at European level, both to modernize methods and techniques of entrepreneurship education, and to integrate a cooperative dimension into mainstream education. The creation of the CoopStarter network is an illustration of this.
Young people’s initiatives are aimed at addressing the deficit of educational cadres aimed at acquiring the skills necessary for the creation of a cooperative enterprise. The success of the Mondragón Team Academy in Spain led him to replicate in the Netherlands.

b) Governance

The need for a generational transition within the cooperative movements is reflected in the setting up of networks of young co-operators at national and European level.

c) Entrepreneurship

Making the cooperative model a lever for social, economic and technological innovation: this is the challenge of multiple cooperative co-working and fablabs spaces emerging across Europe.

4. List of reference documents

5. Basic list of organizations that have the subject matter to involve in structuring the contents and methodologies to be developed in the EFSSE2017 (European, international and national levels)

Education: Irecoop Emilia-Romagna / Legacoop Liguria; Mondragón Team Academy
Entrepreneurship: Impact Hub Firenze; Condiviso; Student Solidarity
Governance: YECN; Generazioni