What does education bring to cooperative entrepreneurship in the classroom?

There is much talk in European education systems today about the need to learn entrepreneurial skills.

By entrepreneurship spirit we mean fundamentally the ability of the individual to transform ideas into action. It is related to creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve previously set objectives.

However, it is curious that we always talk about entrepreneurship spirit in the singular, even though many of the most successful companies in the world have assumed that the team is the fundamental cell that allows them to promote innovation and complex problem solving.

Often companies indicate that they have to dedicate significant time to the «on-the-job» training of their employees, because they have deficiencies in their teamwork skills, which are not yet sufficiently trained in the educational stage.

Co-operatives and social economy organisations, better than any other organisational form, promote collective entrepreneurship spirit. Their management is based on the democratic participation of all people, on joint decision-making, on the rotation of roles and responsibilities. Problem solving is based more on dialogue and the search for possible consensus than on authority and hierarchy.

All this makes cooperative-based organisations real platforms for training teamwork skills. Their members learn to self-organise, to support each other and to trust each other to achieve the common purpose.

For all these reasons, a proposal for education to cooperative entrepreneurship offers educators and their students differential benefits:

  1. It promotes the active involvement of people in the learning process, through the learning by doing approach.
  2. It promotes the internalization of human, social and economic values at the base of the cooperative entrepreneurship model and its impact on the community.
  3. It trains the skills needed for teamwork: people are called upon to reflect, decide and act collectively. They learn how to manage relationships, communicate, organize tasks, solve conflicts, coordinate the common effort. They cooperate to learn while learning to cooperate.
  4. They increase the level of awareness and confidence in group interactions. People learn to recognize how they feel, how they behave and how they develop within a group.
  5. It develops the leadership capacity of all people and encourages responsibility and collective commitment.
  6. It educates people to participation and prepares them to exercise active and responsible citizenship.

In short, promoting collective entrepreneurship spirit enables the development of the teamwork skills that people need for the world of work and for their present and future lives.

That’s why from Youucope we encourage educational institutions to include the cooperative model in their curricula and to promote it among young students and entrepreneurs.
We are working in the design of innovative training modules with resources, methodologies and tools for educators to integrate cooperative entrepreneurship concepts, skills and real experiences in their classroom. This resources will also encourage them to seek the collaboration of existing cooperatives from their local context, to both gain awareness but also to facilitate school-to-work transition and real experiences.If you want to learn and teach about cooperative entrepreneurship leave us your email and we will inform you when the Free Online Course and the toolkit are available.