3 Compelling reasons why co-operatives are the best options for entrepreneurial youths
At this age, it is not surprising to see teenagers being featured on Forbes magazine every other week, and young entrepreneurs breaking new grounds almost on a daily basis. However, at least in Singapore, there are so many legal constraints such as age limit, financial abilities as well as a lack of real entrepreneurial experience impeding enterprising youths’ ideas from materialising.
Co-operatives, then, may be the answer to their dilemma.
Firstly, unlike other forms of business entity, co-operatives can be formed easily with a minimal number of 10 members, whom only need to be 16 years old (and 12 years old for school-based co-ops) and above. This is remarkable as students from as young as Secondary School level can now put their brilliant ideas and unrelenting energies into productive and enterprising ventures and operations. Moreover, unlike private companies or sole proprietorships, co-ops are backed with tremendous business support and guidance from the co-op community as the co-operative movement expounds on values such as self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In Singapore’s case, they can turn to SNCF for their financial, marketing or even operational needs.
Secondly, most, if not all, youths lack the adequate start-up capital to launch a business venture via a private company model. However, a co-operative leverages on everyone’s contribution and with the grants available, the capital requirement on the individual entrepreneurs is much lower. And co-operative, being a separate legal entity, protects the members as they have limited liabilities too. Furthermore, unlike other companies, co-ops have various tax advantages that further reduce cashflow issues faced by most start-up companies.
Thirdly, several key features of co-ops have various positive implications on the entrepreneurial youths and society at large. For instance, a co-op thrives on democratic management, where everyone has equal rights regardless of one’s shares owned. This will have a pivotal impact on youths’ outlook and value systems as they embrace equality and democracy at such a young age. Also, a co-op has perpetual existence. This is extraordinary as studies have shown, one of Generation-Y and Millennials’ top-ranked features in their career is meaning and significance. And knowing their initiatives and efforts will outlive them and continue to make positive social changes, their devotion and personal development along the journey will certainly be significant and momentous.
All in all, being interested in entrepreneurship since my secondary school days, I was always plagued by the concerns mentioned above. If I had known the how-to or even the framework of co-ops, perhaps I could have done more than just daydreaming about the many idea I have had since then. What a pity if the youths nowadays are still unaware of the co-op movement then?
Me engaging my juniors at my alma mater Hwa Chong on the Singapore co-operative movement.
Jax Liu, 22, is currently in NUS Business Year 2. His hobbies include exercising, reading and socializing. He’s hungry 24/7, and requires a minimum of 5 meals a day to get by.
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