Preston meets Mondragon

A delegation from Mondragon, Spain, was invited by the University of Central Lancashire to visit the campus and the city of Preston for four days in early November 2021.

The influence of Mondragon on the Preston Model and the partnership between the University and Preston City Council has prospered since their first visit in 2013.

Our distinguished guests represent different aspects of the Mondragon system:

Iñigo Albizuri is the Global Head of Public Affairs, MONDRAGON Corporation.

Marta Boixados is a Consultant at LKS Cooperative, the Management Consulting Division of MONDRAGON Corporation.

Aitor Lizartza is an academic working in Business Management at Mondragon University, Co-founder of Mondragon Team Academy entrepreneurship unit in Mondragon University and designer of the degree in entrepreneurial leadership and innovation (LEINN).

Oscar Muguerza is Head of Business Banking at Laboral Kutxa, the co-operative bank of Mondragon. He is an expert and mentor for the social value initiative of Laboral Kutxa, called ‘Gaztenpresa’.

Ibon Zugasti is International Project Manager at LKS Cooperative, the Management Consulting Division of MONDRAGON Corporation.

Whilst they were here our guests were able to combine meetings with the Preston Model stakeholders with a visit to Rochdale, the birthplace of the co-operative movement. They met the Preston Co-operative Education Centre, the Project Committee for the Preston Co-operative Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Design and Preston City Council.

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The highlight of the visit was the ‘Preston Meets Mondragon2’ symposium held at the University and hosted by Robin Richardson, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Allied Health and Wellbeing. Over 100 people attended the event which was also live-streamed. Delegates were able to gain valuable, detailed insights to Mondragon as a constantly innovating system; the design of education from the University of Mondragon in collaboration with Bilbao; the social engagement system embedded into the banking practice of the Mondragon bank, Laboral Kutxa; and an overview of the work of Mondragon LKS Consultancy with the Preston Project Committee, bringing Mondragon’s expertise into close contact with developments in Preston.

The event was a celebration of the University’s connection to Mondragon and the Preston Model, which has been the subject of numerous academic and non-academic research and debate. We are currently engaged in active research into the place of co-operatives and co-operation in the Preston Model and its potential public health impacts. We are also exploring how the Preston Model faces up to the challenges of climate change.

Continuing work arising from Ibon Zugasti and Marta Boixados with the Project Committee can be found at . For the latest academic overview of the Preston Model, see the edited volume Manley, J. and Whyman, P.B., The Preston Model and Community Wealth Building (Routledge 2021).

Thanks to Professor Mick McKeown, Dr Olga Kuznetsova and Alina Belousova for their invaluable help in organising the visit.