ECOOPE – Entrepreneurial Cooperative Experience

Research Area: Innovative models
Scientific coordinator: Sara Depedri
Project Manager: Ilana Gotz

Project status: on going

Description

The project ECOOPE – Entrepreneurial Cooperative Experience – co-funded by the European Commission, launched in April 2017, aims to improve the employability of young people in Europe by providing them with relevant entrepreneurship knowledge and skills to promote the set-up of cooperatives. The 12-month project brings together partners from seven institutions from five EU countries: University of Cantabria and Santander International Entrepreneurship Center (Spain), Lappeenranta University of Technology (Finland), University of Porto (Portugal), European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (Italy), Co -operative College CI (United Kingdom), Portugal Entrepreneurship Education Platform (Portugal) and Industrial City of Valle del Nalón (Spain).

Euricse’s role in the project will be primarily to share expertise in training methods specifically related to the cooperative model, providing overall quality assurance of the activities, deliverables, and results of the project.

Objectives

Through the design and development of innovative training actions that can be easily integrated into secondary and university education, ECOOPE seeks to promote among young Europeans the cooperative spirit and business model as a tool to acquire social and entrepreneurial skills that enhance their employability, especially in those countries with high youth unemployment rates such as Spain, Italy and Portugal.

Main results

The objective of the first phase of the ECOOPE project is to identify and study the best programs, methodologies and tools that are being developed in Europe regarding education and training in cooperative entrepreneurship. The project will identify crucial success factors regarding the methodology, educational approach and content of successful programs, courses and tools that have proven results in the acquisition of capacities and skills of pupils and students required for the set-up and management of cooperative entrepreneurial ventures. The results will be reflected in a Best Practice Guide that will be made available to the public in order to increase awareness of the viability of this business model.

The second project phase will begin in October 2017 with the design and implementation of two pilot courses for high school and university students. The pilot trainings will propose an innovative working formula in which students, integrated into multidisciplinary teams, will have to find solutions to real-world challenges posed by cooperatives in the participating regions. The training for secondary school students will provide participants the opportunity to work as a cooperative in a team of pupils from different countries and with different backgrounds in a region and/or country different to their home region/ country on solving a socially relevant real problem previously detected by local stakeholders. The university level training model contemplates the conception of an “Erasmus cooperative intra-entrepreneur” program where selected university students receive a scholarship to spend 1-3 months in a European cooperative, working in a team composed of 3-4 students from different disciplines and countries on an innovation challenge launched by the cooperative. This training model aims at providing university students with a first professional experience in an international environment at the same time as providing cooperatives with young and creative university talent resulting in a potential generational renewal and increased competitiveness of the universities and an increased capacity of students to set-up their own cooperative.

In spring of 2018, the project will conclude with an international event to disseminate the innovative content and teaching methodologies developed by members of cooperatives, colleges, universities, SMEs and other public and private institutions in various European countries.

Partner

University of Cantabria and Santander International Entrepreneurship Center (Spain)

Lappeenranta University of Technology (Finland)

University of Porto (Portugal)

Co -operative College CI (United Kingdom)

Portugal Entrepreneurship Education Platform (Portugal)

Industrial City of Valle del Nalón (Spain)