Why is the cooperative business model a great option for youth-led start-ups?
The cooperative model is a great business form option for youth entrepreneurs as it allows people to take control of their economic future. The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) defines cooperatives as people-centred enterprises owned, controlled and run by and for their members to realise their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations. Cooperatives bring people together in a democratic and equal way. Whether the members are the customers, employees, users or residents, cooperatives are democratically managed by the 'one member, one vote' rule.

Members share equal voting rights regardless of the amount of capital they put into the enterprise. As businesses driven by values, not just profit, cooperatives share internationally agreed principles and act together to build a better world through cooperation. Putting fairness, equality and social justice at the heart of the enterprise, cooperatives around the world are allowing people to work together to create sustainable enterprises that generate long-term jobs and prosperity.

What is GCE?
The GCE is an experimental mentoring program aiming at providing support to youth ambassadors interested in setting up a cooperative. The program builds on a 3-steps methodology of mobilising youth and together solve community needs by setting up cooperatives.

Inspired in the Cooperatives Europe’s CoopStarter 2.0 Erasmus+ funded project, the GCE is an initiative of the ICA-EU Partnership for international cooperative development (#coops4dev🌎), which aims to bring the cooperative model to the next level within international development policies and programs.

Why should you become a GCE youth ambassador?
As a GCE youth ambassadors, you will be provided a unique opportunity to participate in 6 months mentoring program to support you in realising your cooperative business idea. The GCE mentors are experts from cooperative associations and youth organizations working together in a vocational, education and training (VET) partnership to stimulate enabling environments for innovative and youth-led cooperative start-ups. As a youth ambassador you will also get access to online and offline learning opportunities to build new networks and to create new positive change for your communities.
What will you be expected to do as a youth ambassador?
The GCE program will kick-off by providing the youth ambassadors regional training events, organized by the International Cooperative Alliance. After the training, you will be connected to the mentors in your country and you will receive continuous support on how to start a cooperative and how to mobilise youth around your ideas.

As a GCE youth ambassador, you are expected to mobilise youth around a cooperative start-up idea by planning and delivering 3 multiplier events with support from your mentors. The first event is called ‘Let’s Cooperate!’ and it is intended to be the first stage of realising your initial cooperative start-up idea by working together with youth from your communities. As a second step, you are expected to organise a ‘Coopathon’ – a form of a hackathon to further the opportunities and strategic ideas created during the first event. As a last step, you will organize a third event involving interested youth to establish the cooperative.

Are you one of the youth ambassadors we are looking for?
Are you between 18-35 years old and have an entrepreneurial idea that can solve a community need by setting up a cooperative? Are you an innovative person who enjoy solving problems? Do you like to organise events? Are you a confident communicator who likes to mobilise youth and to work in a collaborative way? Do you speak English? (At least at medium level).

In 2019, the GCE program is implemented in 9 countries and the youth ambassadors need to be based in these countries to enable face-to-face meetings with the mentors. The participating countries are Colombia, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Poland.

If yes to the above, then apply to become a youth ambassador of the Global Cooperative Entrepreneurs program!

Requirements to apply for youth in the Americas :

1. Be a national from El Salvador or Colombia.
2. Age between 18 and 35 years old.
3. Speak English (Medium Level).
4. Have an entrepreneurial idea that can solve a problem.
5. Be an innovatie entrepreneur.

What will you get out of the program?
At the end of the program, youth ambassadors will have had a chance to realise their cooperative business ideas by learning more about cooperatives and how to start them. At the same time, they will strengthen their network of like-minded youth across the world.

Note: Taking into account that this is a global program the application is written in english and have to be fill in english. If you encounter any problem with the application please write to the following email:

This project has been co-funded by the European Union. The contents of this application are the sole responsibility of the International Cooperative Alliance and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.
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