The FPEmpresa VET Schools Association together with the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Spain complete these days in Florence the first edition of the SCoopConSS contest (Social Cooperative Contest for Secondary Schools) with the participation of the Spanish delegation in the international final. This final has been part of the extensive program of the National Festival of Civil Economy, a wide-ranging festival in Italy, attended by personalities from all fields related to social economy, that took place in the emblematic Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

“At FPEmpresa, we work daily to promote projects that provide added value to our associated centers”, the FPEmpresa’s Project Manager, Elena Argudo, highlights. “In this case, SCoopConSS responds to the commitment that VET has towards the Sustainable Development Goals,” she adds.

Argudo also highlights that it has been an innovative project that has given all the students the opportunity to approach a model of entrepreneurship such as cooperativism. Regarding the final objective of this project, she underlines: “The final phase of the project has been very enriching for everyone; participating in the National Festival of Civil Economy in Florence is an experience that surely none of the students who have reached the final will forget”. “We hope to be able to repeat future editions of this contest and to expand the number of countries that compete in it,” Argudo concludes.

The final phase of this project counted on the participation of teams from schools from 5 different countries. These teams had previously won their respective finals in the national competitions. In the end, the first prize of SCoopConSS has been awarded to the Greek team, from the Fryganiotis Secondary School, with its ergaZWmai Cooperative project; a proposal focused on responding to the social needs of the local community.

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The Spanish delegation leaves for the SCoopConSS final in Florence

The winners of SCoopConSS national phase: “After having carried out this project, we are certain that we would like to be entrepreneurs”

The EFA La Malvesía will represent Spain in the SCoopConSS final in Florence

SCoopConSS: students design their proposals for cooperatives in the final stage of the project

The EFA La Malvesía team, winner of the national phase of SCoopConSS (Social Cooperative Contest for Secondary Schools), leaves today for Florence to present their proposal for a social cooperative at the international final of this contest, which will take place tomorrow, Friday September 24, and September 25 at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

The Spanish students will present their business idea to those attending the Civil Economy Festival, one of the most important entrepreneurship and social economy events held in Italy. The event will be attended by great personalities and experts, among which are the Minister of Equal Opportunities and Family, Elena Bonetti, the Minister of Youth Policies, Fabiana Dodane and the Minister of Justice and Social Policy, Andrea Orlando, among others.

The Project Manager of FPEmpresa VET Schools Association, Elena Argudo, highlights: “Participating in the Civil Economy Festival in Florence presenting the winning idea in the Spanish phase of SCoopConSS competition is a unique opportunity for these VET students”. “It is the reward for the great work they have done throughout the academic year”, she emphasises.

Over the last few months, the boys and girls of the EFA La Malvesía have worked with great effort to prepare their presentation, which they will have to present to the members of the jury and to the rest of the participating countries.

The programme of their trip to Florence, which will last until next Sunday, will be full of complementary activities, allowing the members of the EFA La Malvesía team to learn about the good practices that are already being developed in the field of Civil Economy, as well as to enjoy cultural events in this Italian city.

The SCoopConSS project, in which seven organisations from five southern European countries have participated, aims at creating a pool of resources for teachers in the field of social entrepreneurship. It is co-funded by the European Union within the framework of the Horizon2020 funds and has been organised in Spain by FPEmpresa and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Spain.

Cristina Sanz Godos, Nathassa Gil Podgórska, Pau Cerveró Campos and Pedro Mas Campos, under the coordination of their teacher Efraim Vendrell Galdon, are the members of the winning team of the national phase of the European competition SCoopConSS (Social Cooperative Contest for Secondary Schools), organised in Spain by the FPEmpresa VET Schools Association and the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Spain (CCIS).

With their EDUNATURE project, they have won the first prize in the national competition and have been given the opportunity to travel to Florence next September to represent Spain before the other participating countries: Croatia, Greece, Italy and Portugal.

“At the beginning, we decided to participate out of curiosity, because the teacher suggested this project to us and we said, well, let’s see how it goes; later, we did some research and we liked it more and more, because we realised that we were learning a lot ”, Nathassa highlights; an opinion shared by her teammates.

When they were asked what they liked the most about carrying out this project, Nathassa emphasized that she really liked the researching and self-learning part; Cristina points out that she has been very surprised and has found the social media and the website development very interesting; Pau, on his part, highlights that he did not expect that in such small, unpopulated towns, so many things could be done, so many different activities; lastly, Pedro is very satisfied with the teamwork and with the fact that, despite the difficulties encountered, the project has finally got off the ground.

The teacher, Efraim, also wants to emphasize that what he was most surprised about the development of this project was the great involvement of all the students. “It is very difficult to carry out a project with 100% remote work, going online at late hours because they were carrying out their respective work placement modules. I am very proud of how they have performed and that they have overcome every obstacle with great effort. The teamwork has been spectacular and I am very happy that they have received this reward ”, he highlights.

SCoopConSS is a project aimed at promoting social entrepreneurship among young people and when they were asked if they would like or if they would consider starting a business in the future, they expressed their unanimous opinion: “We do not know when, but, after having carried out this project from scratch, we are certain that we would like to be entrepreneurs”.

“We are quite nervous”, the team members let out a soft giggle when asked about their next trip to Florence to present their proposal to the international jury. “The use of the English language will be a challenge, but we have several surprises in store for the presentation,” Efraim concludes.

On the 28th of June, the final event of the national phase of the SCoopConSS project (Social Cooperative Contest for Secondary Schools) took place virtually, given the current circumstances. During the ceremony, the winning project and the two honourable mentions were announced. The EFA La Malvesía, with its EDUNATURE project, won the first prize (a prize that is worth a ticket to the international final in Florence). The IES Ángel Corella, with ECOOP GRANJA, and the IES Francisco Tomás y Valiente, with Aires de Huerta, obtained the first and second honourable mention, respectively.

The announcement of the awards was preceded by an informative session on mobility opportunities in the European Union to work and apply for internships, carried out by Elena Argudo, the director of projects and the member’s office of the FPEmpresa VET Schools Association.

The winning project, EDUNATURE by EFA La Malvesía, proposes a social cooperative dedicated to programming Environmental Education and caring for the environment, thus helping to know, value and, therefore, respect the environment. “Although the implementation of the project was a bit complicated, because we had to develop a large part of it outside the school because the students were taking their end-of-cycle internships, it has been a very rewarding experience for all”, the teacher responsible for this team, Efra Vendrell, highlights. “With the completion of this project,” Vendrell adds, “the students have been able to see first-hand all the procedures and problems that can be encountered when setting up a company, more specifically, a cooperative. I am delighted that there are students who are involved in projects like this and that they are learning what cooperativism is like”. He points out that the biggest challenge for his team was to carry out everything remotely, but, as the members of the team have pointed out, “the great effort and the hours invested have paid off”.

As for the honourable mentions, the first was for the IES Ángel Corella for its ECOOP GRANJA proposal, whose main objective is that the community, and children in particular, relate to the environment and receive training in accordance with the basic pillars of agriculture, sustainability and development of the primary sector. According to the teacher who has coordinated this team, Sonia Cardenal, “it has been very gratifying to see how the projects were emerging.” “I decided not to ‘correct’ anything as such, rather to advise and the issues that had to be modified were discussed in common and agreed among all the members of the team,” she adds. “I was very surprised that, despite the fact that the students were not very familiar with the basic concepts that were requested in the project, the quality of what was emerging has been very good and this is reflected in this honourable mention; this has definitely empowered them”, she concludes.

The second honourable mention was awarded to the Aires de Huerta proposal from IES Francisco Tomás y Valiente, whose objective is the production of organic vegetables in urbanized environments (on roofs) with hydroponic cultivation techniques and their distribution to small local markets. “The realization of this project by the students of the Electric and Automatic Installations cycle had the added complication of being done within the dual modality; the allocation of hours to entrepreneurship was very tight and we had to run against the clock”, Jesús Fernández, coordinating teacher of this team, highlights.

The jury in charge of evaluating the proposals submitted, made up of four expert voices, is unanimous in noting the great work that all the participating centres have carried out. “It was a very complicated final, it was hard for us to decide because the ideas presented were very good indeed” Patricia Santos, coordinator of educational innovation projects and member of the jury, says.

Another member of the jury, Pablo Ascasibar, partner of Agresta S.Coop, highlighted “the quality of the proposals and the wide variety of topics”. For Ascasibar, these types of competitions are “very important”, because “they teach the Vocational Education and Training students formulas of social economy as interesting as collective self-employment; formulas that are often unknown”.

For her part, Marta Lozano, also a member of the jury and CEO of Wazo Coop., points out that “although only one team was the winner, the greatest prize they can receive is that their cooperative is feasible, that it helps them fulfil their dreams and that it has a positive impact on society”.

Finally, Mar Alonso, Training and career counselling teacher and head of studies at the Escola del Treball de Barcelona, underlines that this type of project “makes students feel that they are the centre; it makes them responsible for their own teaching and learning process and reflects fundamental values such as effort and perseverance”.

The winning team of the EFA La Malvesía will represent Spain in the international final, which will take place in Florence next September. The members of the jury have committed to guide them and help them improve their proposal for the presentation in the final.

After several months of hard work and learning, the project SCoopConSS (Social Cooperative Contest for Secondary Schools) reaches its final stage. The more than 150 students from the different participating centres will have to design the proposals for the social cooperatives to be presented at the Spanish national contest. A total of nine Spanish schools take part: the IES Puertas del Campo in Ceuta, the EFA La Malvesía in Valencia, the C.D.P Atlántida CIDEP in Granada, the IES Simón Pérez in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the IES Ángel Corella, the IES Francisco Tomás y Valiente, the Cooperativa de Enseñanza José Ramón Otero, the IES Pedro de Tolosa and the Colegio Santa María del Carmen in Madrid.

The project, co-financed by the European Union under the frame of the Horizon2020 funds, counts on the participation of seven organisations from five southern European countries: the FPEmpresa VET Schools Association and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Spain, aCapo Società Cooperativa Sociale Integrata and EGInA Srl. in Italy, AKETH-DCT (Tesalia Development Centre) in Greece, the Portuguese Association of Startups (APSU) in Portugal and the Rijeka Technical Culture Centre in Croatia.

SCoopConSS is aimed at facilitating teachers a source of high-quality materials regarding social entrepreneurship. This way, teachers can access the necessary tools to help students explore a business model such as the cooperatives and, parallelly, the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN.

The Projects Director and Associated Centre Office of FPEmpresa, Elena Argudo, highlighted that “SCoopConSS is a project intended to bring students closer to an entrepreneurship model that has a lot of advantages and that it is directly related to the Sustainable Development Goals”. “It is a project that leads to the reflection on the importance of companies being committed to these goals because the companies of the future will be those that know how to link their business model to a sustainable project”, she added.

During the execution of the SCoopConSS project, each school has participated in six workshops, that have tackled the following topics: characteristics of cooperatives, Sustainable Development Goals, Canvas Next as a tool to analyse a business model, market research, business planning, communication and marketing. Apart from these six workshops, some special sessions have also been organised. In these, students have had the opportunity to know the experience of real cooperatives first-hand. Some of these cooperatives were: Agresta, Wazo, La Corriente, La Osa Coop, Cooperativa Redes, Por Siete, Aplica and Kinema.

From now and until the next 18th of June, the different teams will be working on the development of their idea for social cooperative, which they will present at the Spanish national contest. The winning team will be awarded a trip to Florence next September to present their proposal at the international contest, where they will have to compete against the rest of the participating countries, which are also in the final stage of the project. Argudo concludes: “A challenge is given to students with the motivation of participating in a national contest that, if won, gives them the opportunity to present the result of their work at an international level, in an incomparable scenario such as the city of Florence”.


FEBRUARY, 3, 2021 – After holding the second transnational partners’ meeting (online) last January 19th and 20th, in the format of an internal Training the Trainers workshop with practical activities aimed at reaching the validation of the shared methodology and tools for implementing the next steps, the ScoopConSS partnership is now ready to begin the piloting process. This will be comprised of a 4-month period of online workshops and collaborative classroom work sessions among teachers, students, project tutors and social cooperative representatives.

However, before starting this stage, partners should perform an experimentation of the cooperative learning exercise with all teachers involved at national level, applying the same tools later with their groups of students. In this occasion, partners are also expected to show and explore the online MOODLE platform, providing teachers with access to it, so they could study the Open Educational Resources available and select a couple of them to carry out the same exercise with their pupils.

Afterwards, partners will cooperate with each teacher for schedule the organisation of the workshops for students, as well as schedule the online classroom sessions. The main goal is to provide a proper mentorship to both students and teachers in the simulation of a cooperative business project planning, as well as to monitor the ongoing process of each school in getting ready for the participation at the ScoopConSS contest.


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