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About Young Co-operatives

Young Co-operatives holding a world map

Young Co-operatives give young people a practical introduction to co-operative enterprise by helping them to set up and run their own businesses.

The businesses they establish are run as co-operatives. Many of them have followed the idea of running healthy eating tuck shops selling only fairly traded products. Involvement in a Young Co-operative provides a variety of learning opportunities – business skills, co-operative and democratic working. The businesses established as Young Co-operatives often focus on supporting Fair Trade and developing awareness of how this can help to alleviate poverty in the world. Other models for Young Co-operatives include horticultural and recycling businesses.

Young people take control of their own business – selecting and pricing stock, researching markets, devising promotional materials, cash management and so on. Some Young Co-operatives produce a business plan to set the agenda for their future development. Through Young Co-operatives young people learn to work with one another. Each member has an equal stake in the business and an equal opportunity to contribute and make decisions. They run their own meetings and learn about the wider co-operative movement. Resources to support the formation of Young Co-operatives will be available through the Enterprise Village in the near future. If you are interested in starting one in your school.