Young entrepreneurs and professionals from 109 countries are meeting in Kuching, Malaysia this week for the first-ever Global Youth Forum on Cooperative Entrepreneurship (GYF20).
Organized by the International Cooperative Alliance-European Union Partnership on Cooperative Development (#coops4dev), the National Cooperative Federation of Malaysia (ANGKASA) and ICA youth networks, the event is exploring entrepreneurship, building knowledge and testing innovative thinking and tools.
Participants will discuss cooperative development through the lens of relevant topics like social media, climate change, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, social capital and more.
ANGKASA President Datuk Abdul Fattah Abdullah said young people are critical to modernizing the global cooperative movement, providing the new ideas needed in the face of rapid economic growth and technological innovation.
The GYF20 opened and will close with plenary sessions featuring representatives from youth organizations within the global cooperative movement, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations and the Malaysian government.
Malaysia’s Chief Minister of Sarawak Abang Johari, who spoke at the event, told the Borneo Post that he believes the democratic nature of the cooperative business model promotes participation, broadens ownership and fosters new opportunities for youth.
“[Cooperatives] enable young people to crowd-fund financial resources, share knowledge, contribute expertise and empower the flexibility of self-employment,” he said, adding that this year’s theme of “cooperative entrepreneurship” aligns with the UN SDGs—specifically to Goal 8, “decent work and economic growth.”