Co-operatives UK hires youth social enterprise founder as CEO

Co-operatives UK has appointed a Manchester based social enterprise founder as chief executive.

Rose Marley is joining the cooperative network in January next year from Sharp Futures, the social enterprise she founded to support young people into creative, digital and tech roles.

She was also recently appointed by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to lead a campaign to improve transport for young people.

Co-operatives UK is a network for local co-operatives, including high street retailers, community owned pubs, fan owned football clubs and farmer controlled businesses.

“I couldn't be more excited about joining Co-operatives UK. There has never been a more important moment to harness the enthusiasm of a new generation for a fairer way of doing business,” said Marley.

“The co-op movement has always been about disrupting the status quo, encouraging people to take responsibility for themselves and others. In the past it was ensuring there was "no chalk in our flour", now it is about digital platforms, or plastic in our environment or a gig economy that denies young people the stability and training they need to establish themselves in life.

“We have an historic opportunity now to merge co-operative principles with digital technology to create the kind of sustainable, equitable platforms that society needs.”

Co-operatives UK chair Don Morris added: “We are delighted to have Rose on board. She brings a fresh approach to the challenges facing entrepreneurs, co-operatives, community business and social enterprise today.

"In the same way that co-ops are often set up to disrupt mainstream business models - giving ownership and decision making powers to workers, customers and communities – we expect Rose to help us shake up the way that co-ops are perceived.

“Yes, they are best known as high street convenience stores. But they are also tech companies, arts venues, freelancers working collectively, innovators, activists and much more. We think Rose will fit right in.”

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