Cause Index

South African Youth Co-operative Network

South Africa is faced with the complex challenge of poor economic participation of young people, which inhibits the country’s economic development and imposes a larger burden on the state to provide social assistance. Young people have long been, and increasingly are, disproportionately affected by unemployment, underemployment, disempowerment and disengagement. In South Africa alone for every unemployed adult there are three unemployed youth. The youth constitute 41,2% (14 to 35 years) of the South African population, but the number of young people involved in entrepreneurial activity remains extremely low at 6% of the total youth population.

South African Youth Co-operative Network (SAYCON) is a voluntary association of young people who fell that most of our socio-economic challenges can best be addressed through social entrepreneurship and co-operatives. The organisation was registered on the 10th of January 2014 as a non-profit organisation in terms of NPO Act No71 of 1997 and it is associated with the International Co-operative Alliance’s World Youth Network. The South African Youth Co-operative Network (SAYCON) believes that through effective involvement with cooperatives, young people can work together with governments, civil society and other stakeholders, to overcome these challenges.

A South Africa that has sustainable youth-owned co-operative enterprises that are able to compete in the mainstream economy and operating in all sectors of our economy, which contribute to employment creation, poverty reduction and economic growth.

Develop programmes with a potential to allow the participation of young people in entrepreneurship through the use of co-operative and social enterprises. These programmes should be aimed at economically empowering young men and women with special focus on unemployed graduates, out-of-school and disabled youth.

To partner with mainstream business and government in programmes aimed at youth economic participation through enterprise creation and development.

Playing a lobby and advocacy role in the youth policy arena


SAYCON subscribes to the co-operative movement’s wider values which are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values ofhonesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.


The South African Youth Co-operative Network strives to fulfill the following objectives;

2.1 To Help young entrepreneurs & co-operators from different parts of the country to network / connect, share experiences and ideas among themselves and with the rest of the world through the creation of a database for young co-operators.

2.2 To provide an environment where young people can learn more about the wider co-operative movement and social entrepreneurship.

2.3 To involve young people from outside the movement through awareness, education and support.

2.4 Empower young entrepreneurs & co-operators to engage with the rest of the Coop movement to both raise the profile of youth issues and to ensure the youth perspective is presented during wider discussions.

2.5 Promote the spread of co-operatives and social enterprises through co-operative education.

2.6 Contribute to the building of a strong co-operative movement in South Africa that positively contributes to the goals of the future co-operative movement at global level.

2.7 Act as a collective voice of young people in co-operatives and social enterprises.

2.8 To organise resources aimed at assisting in the development of co-operatives owned by youth.

2.9 To lobby government, private sector and other stakeholders to create an enabling environment for youth inclusion in co-operatives and social enterprises.

2.10 To affiliate with any national or international body for the promotion of co-operation.

2.11 To create and groom future co-operative leaders who have potential to grow the movement even further.

2.12 To facilitate interaction amongst provincial youth co-operative youth networks or forums with an aim of creating relationships for the exchange of experience, research papers, information and other relevant elements among institutions and bodies concerned with youth and co-operatives.

2.13 To create programmes aimed at encouraging and promoting the culture of entrepreneurship at an early age.

•Student Co-operative Programme
•Co-operative Awareness and Promotion Outreach Programmes
•Education and Training Programme
•Mentorship Programmes
•Co-operative Development Support Services
•Youth Co-operative Database, Research, monitoring and evaluation