The project will enable 25 young people aged 16-24 from Pilton, Edinburgh, to set up and run their own co-operative business. With local unemployment rates at 8.4% compared with the rest of Edinburgh at 3.9%, the young people involved are among the 5% most deprived in Scotland.
The project was designed to teach young people to become increasingly financially capable and to understand investment and growth.
The scheme will require them to be equally involved and work as a team to manage a co-op, make decisions and allocate resources. Each co-op will be given nest funding of £300 and young people will be tasked with generating the largest return with the greatest community impact. They will also receive support if they decide to set up a fully functioning legal co-operative.
The College says the initiative will boost employability skills such as teamwork and leadership, offer work experience and explore the option of co-operative employment.
Since its inception in 2014, the RBS fund has provided £1m in funding to 50 organisations across Scotland.
All shortlisted projects are now put to a public vote and the winner will be announced in December. Projects can receive up to £35,000.
Simon Parkinson, chief executive and principal of the Colllege, said: “We’re delighted that our Together Enterprise project has been shortlisted for this public vote.
“We know that co-operatives can equip young people with the skills to tackle the challenges they face, whilst also empowering them to make a real difference in their communities. As the only co-operative approach to be shortlisted, we hope that everyone across the movement will support us in helping us to develop a new generation of pioneers.”