The Espriu Foundation supports projects such as ECOOPE to raise awareness about cooperative healthcare


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The Espriu Foundation supports projects such as ECOOPE to raise awareness about cooperative healthcare

The Espriu Foundation, the fourth largest network of health cooperatives in the world, emphasises the importance of projects that raise awareness about cooperativism on the occasion of an international seminar on cooperative entrepreneurship, which took place in Santander on 21 and 22 June under the framework of the ECOOPE project.

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Jose Pérez, deputy director of Espriu Foundation

under the framework of the ECOOPE project.

ECOOPE, an international project co-funded by the European Union, involves eight different institutions from five European countries and aims at implementing innovative educational initiatives for European Secondary and University students. It also promotes the cooperative business model among the European youth, allowing them to acquire skills that will boost their employability.

Representatives of academic institutions in different countries participated in the two-day seminar, entitled “Co-operative Entrepreneurship: a tool for a sustainable, viable future”, during which several training programmes regarding cooperativism and social economy were presented.

The Espriu Foundation participated in the seminar and related its experience from the pilot programme aimed at university students, which took place in March earlier this year. During his speech, José Pérez, deputy director of the Espriu Foundation, claimed that “together with academic institutions and teaching professionals, cooperatives can play a very important role in training young entrepreneurs by inculcating the values of the Social Economy”.

During the event, which was held at the Faculty of Economics, Business Studies and Law of the University of Cantabria, the main characteristics of the cooperative business model were highlighted and it was noted that entrepreneurship in this sector is a key tool for achieving sustainable development.

The director of the Espriu Foundation, Carlos Zarco, alluded to “the need for more international projects like ECOOPE, as they serve to shape a genuine cooperative business environment and help the youth of the future to acquire knowledge about this model, offering access to decent job opportunities”. He also underlined the role of cooperatives in the future of Europe, “as they currently employ 4.7 million citizens”.

The international project ECOOPE and the Espriu Foundation

In March this year, the Espriu Foundation welcomed three students from Italy, Portugal and Spain, whose profiles ranged from law and international business to biochemistry and biotechnology, to the HLA Moncloa University Hospital in Madrid. The aim was none other than to encourage cooperative entrepreneurship to tackle youth unemployment in Europe.

For one month, the young students worked immensely on the cooperative business experience, which included a theoretical and a practical part, in an aim to find innovative solutions to the challenges cooperatives face to be able to implement them in the future. In this respect, they had the opportunity to learn about how cooperatives work in Spain, and learn about healthcare systems integrated into this business model.

At the end of the meeting, all three students agreed on the need to raise awareness among society of this non-profit business model through education. Likewise, the three students stated that “in the long term, this business system could be an important source of employment for young people”.

In that regard, Carlos Zarco stressed that “this experience has been a first step in raising awareness among young people on the possibilities cooperative companies can offer them”, and that “the Espriu Foundation has allowed them to develop their creativity and business ideas in a real cooperative environment”.


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