Our COOPower project aims to raise public awareness of co-operative and social economy enterprises as alternative, inclusive and innovative approaches to tackling youth unemployment, and will provide practical support to young people in Cyprus, Greece and Croatia.
The project promotes the value of social enterprises and co-operatives as viable career pathways, while at the same time supporting a group of early career journalists to highlight the power of the social economy to create positive change.
A series of start-up workshops – known as COOPAthons – will be held in all three countries. Young people in each country will be invited to work in teams to develop innovative ideas for co-operatives and social enterprises, which will be evaluated by a panel of judges.
Participants will receive training and mentoring in the principles of co-operativism, social economy and social innovation, and will also have the opportunity to develop their critical thinking, creativity and team working skills.
The finalists from each COOPAthon will compete in their country final, where they will pitch their idea in front of the judges and the audience. The country teams with the best ideas will win a study visit to the UK.
UK study visit
During the study visit, the winning teams will learn about the development and impact of co-operatives and social enterprises in the UK, and they will also have the chance to meet representatives from leading UK co-operative and social economy organisations, as well as visit a range of co-operatives and social enterprises run by young people.
Our team of COOPower journalists
Following a competitive selection process, we have recruited a team of 12 young journalists from Cyprus, Greece and Croatia (four from each country) to spread the word about the career opportunities offered by co-operatives and social enterprises.
To prepare for their role in the project, our team of COOPower journalists took part in an intensive training course delivered by the social enterprise magazine Pioneers Post, which included sessions on social economies across the world, conducting interviews, recording and editing footage using smartphones, and they also attended a session of their choice at the Social Enterprise World Forum 2020.
The journalists will join and report on each of the COOPAthons – including the country finals – while at the same time also reporting more widely on co-operativism and the social economy in their respective countries.
COOPower is led by the British Council and delivered in partnership with the General Secretariat for Professional Training and Lifelong Learning of the Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and Step Ri, the Science and Technology Park of the University of Rijeka in Croatia.
COOPower is also supported by the Youth Board of Cyprus, the Hellenic Manpower Employment Organisation and the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia.
The project is co-funded by the European Union.
Our global Social Enterprise programme
Our global Social Enterprise programme promotes the development of social enterprise to help address social, economic and environmental problems, and deliver positive change to our communities and societies.
The programme draws on UK and global experience and expertise and is delivered across more than 30 countries with local and international partners. Together, we:
- provide aspiring and existing social entrepreneurs with access to training, mentoring and funding opportunities
- promote social enterprise education in schools and universities
- convene policy dialogues, conduct research and organise study tours to share knowledge and best practice in creating an enabling environment for social enterprise and social investment
- deliver international development projects that promote the growth of social enterprise.
Our approach is designed to help foster a more sustainable, inclusive and prosperous future, and build collaboration, opportunities and trust between the UK and other countries.