Russian consumer co-operatives engage with the youth

23 Oct 2013

Russian co-operators are advancing engagement with youth through a series of strategies.

For the past two years, the Central Union of Consumer Societies (Centrosojuz) has been running the Enterprise Village programme, which has a focus on new ways of developing successful marketing and design campaigns for co-operative enterprises.

The movement is working towards its second national conference for the initiative, which is set to take place in Vladimir next February. The event, which was last held last year, will give delegates the chance to share ideas and experiences and showcase best practices.

The conference is a recurring event aimed at encouraging a dialogue between young entrepreneurs, co-operators, education professionals and students. 

The first conference, held in February 2012, focused on raising the profile of co-operative enterprises by introducing a special course on the co-operative enterprise model in schools and colleges across Russia. Russian co-operators also debated how to stimulate innovation by getting more young people involved in co-operative enterprises.

Following the conference, the team managing the Enterprise Village project proposed introducing a co-operative module in Russian schools and universities. So far 15 technical schools have been taken part in this initiative and over 25,000 students and pupils have received co-operative training. A new course is due to start in January 2014 and will be taught in over 50 technical schools across Russia.

In September, the second Enterprise Village conference gave Siberian co-operators and entrepreneurs the chance to look at the various ways in which students and pupils could be introduced to co-operative values and principles.

At the event, a network for young co-operators was established, which will be launch an online platform where students and younger members will be able to access online workshops and read about the latest developments across the movement.

Photo: Young co-operators at the “Enterprise Village” conference.