COOPSTARTUP 2013

Turning ideas into businesses

Rome, 26th November 2013

Is the cooperative model able speak to youth?

Is it well equipped to deal with present changes in the market system?

Is it able to attract new energy to meet the innovation demand of our time?

These questions underlie the Coopstartup project and were the starting point of the first Coopstartup meeting, a real “coming out”, after 6 months of “indoor preparation”.

All sorts participated: of different ages, diverse professions, from Legacoop and the world of traditional business and research, experienced cooperators and new ones, experts in crowdfunding, co-working, accelerators, incubators and the just curious.

After an opening session, recalling the main project principles – grassroots promotion, openness, networking and listening – there was a presentation of the preliminary results of the working group. These were summarized into three key words: coherency, to cooperative values, presence, in places where young people gather and assistance, with continued follow up to groups having in mind the creation of cooperative startups.

Then participant involvement. Participants were split up into three working tables. With two facilitators per group, they discussed and gave feedback to the meeting on:

  1. how to reach young people to promote cooperative startups;
  2. how to support the pre and post startups;
  3. how to introduce innovation in the cooperative system.
Here are some brief remarks from the working tables.
  1. Starting from the analysis of the pros and cons of the cooperative model for young people, participants agreed on the need for a new language to communicate cooperative values looking more to the future.
  2. Considering the lack of entrepreneurial skills of young people, participants suggested that from the Legacoop network, it could be easier to find experienced tutors, mentors and partners and that Coopfond could play the role of financially supporting cooperative startups.
  3. Risking to be left out of cutting edge innovation, participants recommended that Legacoop focused more on the theme, moving towards changing the perception of cooperatives, becoming open to innovation, both social, the traditionally recognized one, and technological.

The Coopstartup working group took up these suggestions for further project improvements.

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