Team Iceland has launched a pilot project on testing parts of the prospective Conventus learning model for cooperatives. Compared to other Conventus partners, Iceland is in a somewhat unique position which has historical references to the meltdown of the Icelandic Cooperative Movement in the late 1980s. Today, only 31 cooperatives exist in Iceland and in general, the knowledge of the cooperative form is rather weak and cooperative attitudes tend to be somewhat negative, especially among those people who remember the ‘old movement.’

However, it may be assumed that younger people may be more open-minded towards the values and principles of the cooperative form and, in addition, the situation in Iceland after the economic recession is calling for more democracy, sustainability and more social responsibility among companies and enterprises. Therefore, there is a need in Iceland for increased awareness towards the cooperative form, active cooperatives are scarce and there are clearly opportunities for the cooperative business form in Iceland at the moment.

Therefore, the purpose of this pilot project is to establish a programme for prospective cooperators. The pilot target group consists of job seekers who have suffered long-term unemployment. This project is established in cooperation with the Innovation Centre Iceland and The Directorate of Labour in Iceland.

The aim of this project is to assist job seekers to establish cooperatives. The assistance includes a teaching programme, coaching and consultancy. The project started with an orientation period in November, where prospective participants where invited to an introductory meeting. Following that meeting, a short teaching period commenced which included the history and ideology of the cooperative movement, where participants were made aware of the speciality and the uniqueness of the cooperative form and did a brainstorming workshop on forming ideas of prospective cooperative enterprises.

As part of the project, participants will form their own groups and work on project ideas, develop business plans for prospective cooperatives, work on marketing strategies, finances, accounting, management and strategy and other practical issues in establishing a cooperative. The teaching period will commence in January and end at the end of April 2013.