A better way forward

Explore Opportunity. Create growth.

Co-operatives First is a business development organization. We promote and support development based on the co-operative business model in rural and Indigenous communities. Our goal is to help realize business opportunities by providing entrepreneurs the tools, resources and direct support they need to get up and running.

Throughout western Canada, we support leaders looking to explore opportunities, inspire others and realize their visions.

About Us


Why us?

Starting and running a business takes energy, skill and commitment. And the process can be complicated, confusing and frustrating. We’re here to help navigate the process.

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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

Technology and the future of rural co-ops

Co-ops are a tool for sharing During the transition from steam and horse to fossil fuel, the co-op model really began to prove its worth…

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the-common-share-podcast

The Future of Co-ops? A conversation with Nathan Schneider

Welcome to Season 2 of The Common Share! We’re starting this season with an exciting guest that we know you’ll enjoy. Academic and journalist Nathan…

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How this YXE bike co-op gives back

  Co-ops are great at giving back. In our recent Holiday Podcast, Aasa spoke with some amazing co-operatives in western Canada. Each of them gave us…

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how-coop-gives-back

How Co-op is giving back

Co-ops are great at giving back. In our recent Holiday Podcast, Aasa spoke with some amazing co-operatives in western Canada. Each of them gave us insight…

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how-affinity-credit-union-gives-back

How Affinity Credit Union gives back

Co-ops are great at giving back. In our recent Holiday Podcast, Aasa spoke with some amazing co-operatives in western Canada. Each of them gave us…

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The Common Share Podcast

Special Holiday Podcast: How Co-ops Give Back

  The holidays are a time of giving, when people often think about donating to charitable causes. As businesses rooted in their communities, co-ops are…

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Audits: What’s involved and why you might need to do one

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, the holiday season — but it’s also time for co-ops to think about audits. Okay, maybe…

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Federal economic statement: what’s in it for co-ops?

Kyle White, one of our in-house policy experts, weighs in on the federal government’s 2018 economic update and what it means for co-ops. The Canadian…

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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.