ULCCS hosts India’s first ever coopathon; celebrates May Day with new generation co-operatives


Kozhikode, India, 1 May 2018: More than 200 delegates met in Kozhikode, India for the International Conference on Co-operatives in the Changing World of Work (29 Apr – 1 May 2018). For the past three days – academicians, cooperators, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, students and researchers from across the world examined how co-operatives are evolving in the changing world of work.

Delegates were welcomed to the last day of the conference with opening remarks by Prof. Trebor Scholz, New School, United States. “Beyond following the shift of labor markets to the Internet, this is also about data ownership and the prospects of meaningful interoperability between cooperatives. There are 100 million co-ops with roughly 1 billion members worldwide. Combining the ICA principles with the opportunities of digital technologies opens the door to new business models and will attract new generations to the idea of cooperativism”, said Prof. Trebor Scholz.

Dr. Yashvantha Dongre of the Third Sector Research Resource Centre, University of Mysore, shared with the audience: “Co-operatives need not – and must not – abandon the definition of voting membership; but unless they remain open to the new possibilities for participation and engagement and are willing to innovate, they might miss out on opportunities to inspire and involve a new generation of members”

More than 200 delegates from across the world have travelled to Kozhikode. The event on May Day featured key speakers Dr. V. K. Ramachandran, Vice-Chairman, Kerala State Planning Board and Shri T. P. Ramakrishnan, Minister for Labour and Excise, Government of Kerala who gave an outlook on economic, social, and environmental changes in the world of work, with a focus on the labour co-operative movement in Kerala. The event concluded with a book release on the Uralungal Labour Contractor’s Co-operative Society Ltd. authored by Mr. S. K. Sharma who discussed the contribution of the organisation’s leadership in maintaining the legacy with successful diversification of the co-operative in recent times.

On the side-lines, India’s first ever coopathon was organized on the first two days of the conference with support from the ICA-EU Partnership, IIM Kozhikode, Kerala Startup Mission and UL Technology Solutions, to promote the involvement of youth and technology in co-operatives. Over 20 teams were competing for cash prizes upto 60,000 and a chance to be mentored by some of the best incubators in the region. The winning ideas were a smart shoe designed to track employees for attendance management, artificial intelligence for environment detection to empower the blind and a cooperative uber model application for improved access to basic services.