Coop at school

The co-operative enterprise is inter-generational, that is it is never truly “owned” by the members working in it, but it belongs to the community where it was created, expanded and perhaps where it prospered. 
This is why we would like the new generations to get to know what co-operatives are so they can discover the social importance and economic value for the region they operate in.
Legacoop Emilia-Romagna promotes projects that accompany students and teachers on a journey to discover a different way of participating in the economy, where the focus of the enterprise is on people and their needs, whether work, consumption, living or user-related.
The portal is also an opportunity for dialogue that we have initiated to connect co-operation with the world of education, to talk about active projects such as Rete Regionale Bellacoopia that unites contests for ideas on co-operation in Emilia-Romagna, but also to collect direct proposals from teachers interested in developing new educational paths.


This is Legacoop Emilia-Romagna’s project that connects various local activities that take place in secondary schools and that focuses on subjects associated with co-operation.
The co-operative movement uses these initiatives to address the world of education to promote the values of mutuality and solidarity amongst young people by giving them the opportunity to learn a lot about their region by working hard but also enjoying themselves.
The initiatives become contests for ideas and work in which students have many opportunities to participate, win and demonstrate their co-operative spirit.

How does it work?
Every year in September, the local Legacoop offices make the public announcement for participation in provincial contests. Schools request to be able to participate by indicating the participating classes, reason and results expected from the project.
Each class or participating group develops an entrepreneurial co-operative idea and takes care of the company, market and economic-financial aspects.
In addition to their teachers, students are assisted by Legacoop tutors who are experts in the world of co-operatives, and by many co-operative partners.
During the months when most of the work is done, students are involved in coming up with and setting up a virtual co-operative, which allows them to experiment how an enterprise works, what group work entails, how one’s ideas are valorised and how democratic decisions are made.

Classes present their projects in April. They are assessed based on their originality and criteria of economic, environmental and social sustainability.
The best projects in each provincial contest are awarded a prize in May-June. Classes present their work at the award events with videos, slideshows and short theatrical performances. Prizes awarded may include cash or trips.
The top three projects in the provincial contests or the projects that stand out for social and environmental sustainability participate in the Rete Bellacoopia regional contest.
Projects that make it to the finals are presented and awarded in an important final celebration. It’s just another opportunity to valorise the work done throughout the previous scholastic year, and especially a moment when students from different areas in the region meet with each other.
Over the years, Rete Regionale Bellacoopia - a project co-financed by the Region of Emilia-Romagna and Coopfond - has involved more than 15,000 students and every year 50 schools from all around the region.

For further information on our school projects for promoting co-operation, please contact our head office:

Legacoop Emilia-Romagna

Area promozione cooperativa (Co-operative promotional area)



Download a short slideshow: Bellacoopia Regional Network

Youth Employment: The co-operative as a model of ethical enterprise (Paper of Roberta Trovarelli, published inside "Young people, entrepreneurship & non-formal learning: a work in progress”, SALTO)