Co-ops UK CEO Rose Marley named in the top 100 women in social enterprise

Euclid Network has included her in its Europe-wide list for her work to improve social mobility and give young people meaningful employment

Rose Marley, CEO of Co-operatives UK has been honoured in an international list of inspiring women leaders.

Released for International Women’s Day (8 March) Euclid Network has named its Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise. Ms Marley is included for her achievements over the past 20 years as a social entrepreneur, working to increase social mobility and give young people meaningful employment and a chance in life.

Euclid is a European network of organisations that support social entrepreneurs. Members are based in 21 countries and represent over 100.000 organisations within and outside of Europe.

Ms Marley said: “I’m honoured to be included in this prestigious European list pioneering the way for social enterprise. It’s important to recognise female leaders and celebrate our collective achievements at this time of year.  As CEO of Co-operatives UK I’m proud to represent a movement that has democracy and community at its heart and will continue to deliver on the growth of the social economy for a fairer more equitable future for us all.”

Since joining Co-operatives UK in January, Ms Marley has highlighted the role that co-operatives can play in building back better from the Covid-19 pandemic, citing a business model that shares ownership and control with its members. 

She has made a public commitment to diversity, has championed female leaders, encouraged young people to get involved with co-operatives and is offering monthly ‘surgery’ sessions. 

“We need to make it easier for people from diverse backgrounds to engage with the sector,” she wrote in her recent blog. “The use of language, imagery, perceptions, sector profiles all contribute to people ‘ruling themselves out’ and thinking that’s not for me.”

Last year, she was named a Big Issue Changemaker, and has also featured on other lists of inspirational women including SEUK’s WISE100. 

She says she has a vision to engage more young people in co-operatives as a way of harnessing Generation Z’s awareness of social and environmental challenges. In a recent interview with Pioneers Post, she said: “Young people have an inherent and intrinsic values-based system that the co-operative movement speaks to.”

With a background in creative industries, technology, the gig economy and entrepreneurship, Ms Marley has advocated for social enterprise and values-led business. She founded Manchester-based social enterprise SharpFutures, which supports diverse, young talent into creative, digital and tech industries, and led a pilot campaign for the mayor of Greater Manchester improving local travel opportunities and raising aspiration for young people in Manchester, called OurPass.

She led Manchester City Council’s response to the Manchester arena bombing. Manchester Together was a global broadcast of choirs singing from the steps of the town hall in the first anniversary of the attack. 

Last year, partnering with Manchester International Festival, she produced Together in One Voice, a community-led YouTube Live event in lockdown, which saw 100,000 people singing on their doorsteps with appearances from top musical artists.