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With young people trapped between unemployment and underemployment, the political response is too paternalistic, says new organisation AltGen. Launching an award for new co-operative enterprises, it is encouraging 18-29-year-olds to shape their own futures

“I’m glad there’s an economic crisis.”

It’s not something you hear very often, but 25-year-old Rhiannon Colvin believes that the global economic crash of 2008 and its aftermath have presented the perfect opportunity for her generation to start creating a new economy.

“I’m not glad that people are unemployed,” she continues, “but I don’t believe in this economy and how it works. It’s very unsustainable, very unequal and young people are exploited.”

As co-founder and director of start-up business AltGen, that’s what Colvin hopes to change. Launched in May, AltGen is helping 18-29-year-olds set up their own worker co-ops – businesses owned and managed by their employees – in an effort to help tackle the UK’s youth unemployment crisis.

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