Entrepreneurial education through the cooperative lens: Get inspired, make it happen!

Entrepreneurial education through the cooperative lens: Get inspired, make it happen!

The European project YOUCOOPE launches the international edition of its experience for European educators on co-operative entrepreneurial education.

Brussels 16.11.2021 – After almost two years dedicated to YOUCOOPE, consortium partners finally had a chance to meet in person, many for the first time, to honour the successful end of the project with a celebratory final event. Kicking off in March 2020, no one could have imagined then what the project, and the world, would look like when this European Commission (DG Grow) funded project came to a close.

Entrepreneurial education through the cooperative lens: Get inspired, make it happen!’ was celebrated on 16th November at the Brussels Office of TOBB, The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey . While the event speakers and the YOUCOOPE Consortium were on site, the hybrid-style event meant guests from around the world were able to attend the event online – a first for many of us!

Over the last two years, the YOUCOOPE Consortium, formed of 10 European institutions dedicated to cooperatives, entrepreneurship, and education, has developed tools and resources such as the innovative Blended Learning Methodology for educators to introduce cooperative entrepreneurial education in their teaching and classrooms at Secondary and Higher Education levels. With the event, we met to learn, share, and network with policy-makers, academics, business representatives, and entrepreneurial educators.

To catch up on anything you missed, we invite you to watch the video recordings or read the event guide.

The event was over seen by José Carlos Ceballos, International Project Manager at CISE and Alexandra Yaghil, Senior Project Lead at Bantani Education.

Our learning, our impact!

After a welcome from our hosts, and a short video to see what teachers who completed the YOUCOOPE MOOC and Workshops thought about the impact of what the learnt, keynote speaker Patrick Klein opened the event. Klein, Head of Sector Social Economy & Social Enterprises at the European Commission Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, reminded us that if we want to promote the cooperative movement, it is necessary to provide educators with relevant and actionable tools and knowledge to contribute to it. That way, educators will feel ‘empowered to take action’ and add even more value to their learners’ educational paths. He also highlighted ‘the difference that cooperatives can make in the post-pandemic period’.

Patrick Klein spoke about the upcoming Social Economy Action Plan

Victoria Kyriaki, Education & Society Coordinator at British Council Greece, emphasised the need to unite our voices because ‘creating partnerships and networking is the only possibility to open new horizons’ in our new reality. Kyriaki presented COOPower, a project that aims to raise public awareness of cooperative and social economy enterprises as an alternative, inclusive and innovative approach to tackle youth unemployment, providing practical support to young people in Cyrus, 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.

Victoria Kyriaki discusses the success of the COOPower project

Our online attendees also had the opportunity to join thematic workshop sessions. Francesco Garcea, Coordinator of Training and Projects at Fundación Escuela Andaluza de Economía Social and Javier Vallina, Entrepreneurship Education Program Tutor at Valnalón, conducted a workshop about ‘Cooperative entrepreneurial education in secondary schools: skilling for the future’. Which found that the role of the educator should change drastically to promote an authentic cooperative entrepreneurial learning, while handing more control to learners so that they act more as guides or facilitators than traditional teachers and therefore help participants to take active part in the decisions about contents and activities and develop more their transversal skills. The workshops organisers hope to promote a network of teachers and educators interested in deepening cooperative entrepreneurial education in Italy, a self-organised and self-managed group that would try to organise online event every trimester. At the same time, Ilana Gotz and Alessandro Caviola, both from EURICSE, and Alessandro Rossi, Chief of Contamination Lab Trento at the University of Trento, ran the ‘Cooperative entrepreneurial education in higher education: meeting the challenge!’ workshop, and discussed in particular the Coop Mindset extra-curricular programme, a cooperation between the universities of Trento, Palermo, and Bolzano. The programme is open to all students and intends to conceive and design cooperative solutions that respond in an innovative way to global challenges.

Our final speaker of the day was Ana Aguirre, co-founder of TAZEBAEZ, an innovating young consultancy, motivated to change the world in different ways. According to Aguirre, the solution to current challenges and the key to personal and communal success is ‘collaborating and reaching beyond our comfort zone, and finding people who might or might not think like us’. With a passionate and engaging talk she reminded us that education in cooperative entrepreneurship is essential for both young and old, and the way to bring about positive social change.

Ana Aguirre gave an animated talk based on her personal experiences in cooperative entrepreneurship

Get the most out of YOUCOOPE!

We may have organised this event to close the YOUCOOPE project, but this is not the end of our learning or our impact. We wanted to create user-friendly and innovative pedagogical materials for educators across Europe in secondary and higher education. By including the cooperative model in various curricula and in teaching practices, learners will be better prepared for a constantly evolving work environment and for current and future societal challenges. The project website is full of resources to help inspire any educator’s journey into entrepreneurial education through the cooperative lens. The Blended Learning Methodology and Guide for Educators will help educators develop and master the tools and resources necessary to implement cooperative entrepreneurial education in any curriculum.  As Alba González Calleja, Project Manager at CISE, stated, the resources produced are immensely valuable as they help educators’ pick up what is useful for them and apply them to their environment’.

Several resources are available to download for free on the YOUCOOPE website.

Thank you to our partners, speakers and participants for attending the event and helping us carry out YOUCOOPE’s objective: Education professionals working together to improve youth employability in Europe and adaptability to a fast-changing environment and labour market by incorporating entrepreneurial competences and cooperative models. The YOUCOOPE Consortium wishes to extend a special thanks to The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Brussels Office for their continuous help and support.


The YOUCOOPE Consortium: Santander International Entrepreneurship Centre (CISE), University of Cantabria, Co-operative College, Valnalón, Università degli Studi di Trento, EURICSE, Federazione Trentina della Cooperazione, Bantani Education, Fundación Escuela Andaluza de Economía Social, and Awel Aman Tawe.


Thank you for joining us, and celebrating our project,