A better way forward

Explore Opportunity. Create growth.

At Co-operatives First, we support leaders looking to explore opportunities, inspire others and realize their visions.

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Why us?

Starting and running a business takes energy, skill and commitment. Plus, the process can be complicated, confusing and frustrating. But we can help.

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Our Process

Inspire

Inspiring leadership.

Identify opportunities. Understand the model. Become a leader.

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Explore

Exploring opportunity.

Explore an opportunity through our Exploring Opportunity workshop and map out the pathway to success.

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Create

Creating a new business.

Get up and running in a way that is best for you.

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Thrive

Helping your business thrive.

Get access to a variety of tools and resources to help ensure your business continues to grow and thrive.

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Build

Building your business.

Develop and grow your new business or organization.

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We mean business.

Thoughts and success stories

Getting guidance is good practice

“[Incorporating a co-op] was a process that really was not that difficult once we had some guidance.” – Maggie Bluewaters, the Food Forest and Learning…

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6 tips for marketing your co-operative difference

A few weeks ago, Co-operative News talked to marketing leaders from the co-op sector about marketing the co-operative difference. The responses both provide insight and…

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Retail grocery is hard — but not impossible

  The retail grocery business is hard. Large upfront capital costs for space and inventory. Small margins and stiff competition. The need for marketing, procurement,…

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A Story of Many Nations

In the late 90s, Joe Carter, Director of Education for Onion Lake First Nation, recognized First Nations had similar financial services needs to their non-Indigenous…

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The Common Share Podcast

Episode 12: The Backroad Diaries, with Sisan Fregene

Aasa and Kyle are joined in this episode by Sisan Fregene, who spent the summer working on The Backroad Diaries. This Co-operatives First project uses…

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Powering Rural Infrastructure through Co-operatives

  Previously we’ve talked about the important role co-operatives might play in succession planning for rural businesses as baby boomer business owners begin to retire….

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the-common-share-co-op-talk

Episode 11: Fred Khonje’s Five Lessons about Co-op Development

Fred Khonje’s career has spanned the areas of community economic development, non-profit co-op housing, co-op and social enterprise business development, housing policy development, and social…

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Episode 10: a conversation with Dr. Brett Fairbairn

A conversation on the history of co-ops. Dr. Brett Fairbairn has been researching co-operatives for over 30 years; as a Fellow at the Centre for…

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A forward-thinking initiative

Thanks to the generosity, support and forward thinking of the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS) and Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), the organization was launched in 2016.

Our goal is to initiate a new wave of co-operative business development across rural and Indigenous communities across western Canada.

Innovation based on research

Co-operatives First is an evidence-based organization. We formed thanks to research funded by Federated Co-operatives Limited(FCL) and undertaken by a group of researchers from the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan. Many thanks to the rural and Indigenous communities across western Canada who supported this effort.