Young European Cooperators Network

Young and

A network of young co-operators from 14 countries across Europe.

Formed at the Co-operatives Europe General Assembly in April 2015 we are working together to support young co-operators and youth led co-operatives across Europe to thrive, develop and grow. We achieve our aims through sharing ideas, skills and knowledge, building business relationships and creating educational resources.

We believe that the co-operative movement is key to creating a more democratic, sustainable and equal economy. Our vision for the global cooperative movement is for it to create meaningful and rewarding work, empower the disempowered and serve the collective well-being of people and our planet.

We have exciting plans for the next 3 years: we want to triple the size of our network, support the growth of national youth networks in every European country, initiate joint campaigns to make young people aware of how awesome co-operatives are and launch an innovation fund for new youth co-ops.

In order to achieve these aims we need your help.

The continuation and development of the co-operative movement depends on a new generation of co-operators being supported to thrive and grow. This necessitates the established co-operative movement investing in and supporting our work.

National associations

  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • The Netherlands
  • United Kingdom

Working Groups

  • Advocacy
  • Business Opportunities
  • Communication
  • Education / Research

Join us!

If you are a young person (under 40) that would like to join this network, or someone that wants to show solidarity and support please leave your signature and details below

Mondragon 4-5-6 October 2016



Founding statement April 24th 2015

We believe in an economy that is equal, democratic and sustainable. We are working towards a world owned in common, moving beyond an economy based on private ownership and accumulation of wealth. Our generation is inheriting gross inequalities, environmental destruction, poverty and political institutions that no longer serve us.

We believe the co-operative movement can transform society. It can create meaningful and rewarding work, empower the disempowered and serve the collective wellbeing of people and our planet.

As the next generation we will use the co-operative model as a tool to take control over things that matter in our lives: from housing to food, work to community spaces. To bring back ownership and say in spaces that it has been lost.

The YECN will achieve this vision through sharing ideas, best practice and educational resources, building relationships and creating spaces for exchange both physically and online and finally by innovating the co-operative model- both by bringing new ideas into the movement and by ensuring it truly acts its values of democracy, equality, and social and environmental responsibility.

Read the statement in full

We are working towards a world democratically owned in common, moving beyond an economy based on private ownership and accumulation of wealth. Across the globe our generation is inheriting gross inequalities, environmental destruction and shameful poverty. Our movement, the co-operative movement, can transform society. It can create meaningful and rewarding work, empower the disempowered and serve the collective well-being of people and our planet. But only if it truly enacts the values of equality, democracy and sustainable development and only if it puts young people at the heart of its future.

Yesterday 70 young people from 10 countries across Europe, representing thousands of European youth, gathered to form the Young European Co-operators Network.

Through sharing ideas, skills and knowledge this network will support the growth of a vibrant, strong and innovative network of young co-operators. Yesterday we started building the future of the co-operative movement and we ask you to join us.

The problems we face

Across Europe our generation is experiencing high unemployment, lack of opportunities, political apathy, huge inequality and inheriting a climate disaster.

Within the co-operative movement we have experienced the following:

  • Lack of youth representation on boards of co-operative businesses and institutions.
  • Lack of youth representation on panels at international conferences.
  • Lack of investment of knowledge and resources to support youth.
  • Lack of support for new youth co-ops to start.
  • Lack of co-operative education.
  • Inability of the movement to create space for new and innovative ideas and ways of working that young people are creating.

Our Actions

We now aim to build a strong movement of co-operative youth in Europe through the following actions:

  • Creating online space for communication
  • Regular meetings alongside co-op events
  • Creating a business exchange network
  • Sharing educational resources
  • Sharing innovative co-operative business ideas and models
  • Working together to get better youth representation on board and in movement
  • Bringing in a more radical narrative of true democracy, equality, social and environmental responsibility into the co-operative movement

Our Demands

  • Reduced fee for youth at all co-operative conferences
  • A limited number of free spaces for youth at co-operative conferences.
  • All hosts of European/ international conferences make space for youth gatherings.
  • 30% youth representation on boards.
  • youth representation on panels at international conferences.
  • Positions on boards limited to 2 terms.
  • Better racial and gender equality.
  • Taking the concept of social and environmental responsibility seriously.
  • Structures established to facilitate inter-generational exchange of resources and knowledge.

Coordination board

Ana Aguirre

Ana is co-founder of TZBZ S.Coop, an innovation consultancy located in Bilbao (Basque Country) and operating world wide. TZBZ is a cooperative that operates in the fields of business and in education fields, developing changemaker minds and organizations in order to create global change focusing on local actions by entrepreneurial, self managed and innovative teams operating together to create real impact.

Sébastien Chaillou

Sébastien is the president of the french multi stakesholder co-operative “Solidarité Etudiante”. This co-op develops services for students on the french campus ( cafeteria, housing, co-operative entrepreneurship…). He is a former student unionist and he’s still committed for a global social change.

Ivan Kardum

Ivan is working in Cooperative for Ethical Financing. One of the main goals of the Cooperative is the establishment of the Ethical Bank in Croatia in order to develop the local community. As part of the core team, his role is to coordinate the internal business processes and optimize them by developing new solutions

Constance Laisné
United Kingdom

Constance is the co-director of Altgen, a London based workers co-operative which runs innovative educational programmes to help young people build their own co-operatives as part of transitioning to a more equal, democratic, and sustainable economy. She is a passionate advocate for transforming the world of work – from competition to collaboration.

Lorenzo Novaro

Lorenzo is president of Condiviso, a business consultancy cooperative located in a coworking space in Genova. He is an active member of the italian young cooperators network.

Lars Rompen
The Netherlands

Lars is co-owner and founder of the Cooperative Lijnspel based in Heerlen. The cooperative is committed to create a cooperative society on a local and global. Working on different projects and initiatives the cooperative contributes to a better democracy, more equality, solidarity
and self-responsibility

Contact YECN