Within this framework, European students maintain that the cooperative business model must be promoted to have more employment opportunities


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Within this framework, European students maintain that the cooperative business model must be promoted to have more employment opportunities

Liliana Raquel Lemos Da Silva (Portugal), Elisa Schweigkofler (Italy) and Estanislao Gamero Salas (Spain) are three of the young people taking part in the international project Ecoope, co-financed by the European Union and which seeks to introduce innovative and educational initiatives aimed at European secondary education and university students.

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The Espriu Foundation raises awareness on the benefit of cooperative entrepreneurship to tackle youth unemployment in Europe.  From the premise ‘Would you like to know more about the cooperative business model and values and apply them to your future projects?’, the Espriu Foundation, the fourth largest health cooperative in the world, welcomes to the HLA Moncloa University Hospital in Madrid these three young people whose profiles range from law and international business to biotechnology and events management, sports and tourism.


Following their first weeks on the project, the students agree that there is a need to encourage the cooperative business model in schools to provide more employment opportunities to students.

In fact, Elisa Schweigkofler, a student of Events Management, Sports and Tourism from Italy, decided to sign up to the programme to broaden her professional experience. Additionally, she maintains that there is a need to raise awareness among society of this non-profit business model in which people and social values take preference over economic profit.

The Espriu Foundation, a cooperative healthcare model in Spain

For her part, Liliana Raquel Lemos Da Silva, a biotechnologist, also agrees that training in the cooperative model can create more long-term youth employment as “united we are stronger”. She also insists that, in her opinion, the future of cooperatives depends on education and communication.

In this regard, she explains her experience as a member of a cooperative in her country of origin, Portugal.

We work in healthcare, providing help to the elderly in their homes. There are currently five of us but we aim to increase our number in the coming months. We would also like to work on international projects and set up a representation centre of other cooperatives in Portugal


Regarding her participation in the project, Lemos Da Silva says that she took interest in the project Ecoope, and especially the Espriu Foundation, to learn about how cooperatives work in Spain, and learn more about healthcare systems integrated into this business model.

Finally, Law and International Business student Estanislao Gamero Salas has expressed that “some believe that there is only one way to set up a company, but they do not know that the cooperative business model can be another employment opportunity for young people”.

“I think it’s important to promote the cooperative business model not just in universities but also earlier. It’s important to transmit its values, especially in a world in which there is increasing tendency towards cooperation”, he stated.

These three participants will be in the Espriu Foundation until 23 March, studying the functioning of a health cooperative from within, and suggesting projects to give it added value. To do this, they are making use of creativity and innovation.

The Espriu Foundation will take part in the closing ceremony of the project, which will take place on Friday 23 March at the International Entrepreneurship Centre in Santander (CISE).

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