Our 2018 Annual Report is now available.
Thank You To Our Funder
Co-operatives First is funded by the Co-operative Retailing System through Federated Co-operatives Limited. Thanks to the creativity and foresight of CRS and FCL leadership, each year this investment in Co-operatives First supports dozens of groups starting new businesses in rural and Indigenous
communities, increases awareness and understanding of the model across western Canada, guides hundreds of co-operative leaders through an online governance course, and maintains a business resource site unique within the co-operative sector.
The level of dedication this investment by CRS and FCL provides to the co-op sector is unmatched in western Canada. Already, within a few short years, the ecosystem co-ops start up and operate in is changing for the better. More economic developers across western Canada better understand and know the co-op model. Rural, First Nations and Metis leaders across western Canada have better tools and resources to start co-ops. And, most importantly, groups in rural and remote areas recognize they have more options when starting a business.
The board and staff of Co-operatives First thank these pioneers, not only for their ongoing (and impressive) financial support, but also for having the ingenuity and courage to do something new and different – something no one else is doing. You truly are Going the Distance. Thank you.
8000 reached through trade shows & conferences
2000 engaged through presentations & workshops
480 participants for an online governance course
4 million reached through advertising
12000 readers of our blog posts & online resources
2017 Letter from the Executive Director
“2017 has been a year of both introspection and growth. We’ve seen numerous projects begin to take shape and are actively working to see them through to thriving businesses. Through these projects, we’ve learned and adapted our service delivery to better serve clients. Likewise, we’ve adjusted our outreach strategy to better reflect realities in the cooperative sector. The products resulting from this work should be encouraging for the sector and inspire long term growth.
Our aggressive approach to community engagement is driving awareness of the cooperative business model across western provinces and First Nations. The response has been positive, particularly within Indigenous communities, and we expect to see this interest increase as awareness of our organization and the business model continues to grow.
Opportunities for further growth lie in driving awareness of the model and educating on the versatility and benefits of the model for rural and Indigenous communities. To do this, we have engaged with economic, business and community development professionals across western provinces and First Nations.
The support of these organizations and the individuals working for them is key to developing an in-depth awareness of the business model, increasing co-operative development and fostering the incubation of innovative uses of the model.
Through blog posts, presentations, sitting on panels, face to face meetings and advertising, and by using familiar business-friendly language, we have introduced or reintroduced the business model to a wide variety of community leaders, elected officials and business professionals.
In 2018, we are looking forward to furthering this work and introducing key tools in our strategy, such as launching a podcast called The Common Share and releasing an online business development platform called the Co-op Creator.
Thank you to the Board and staff of Federated Co-operatives Limited and to the whole Cooperative Retailing System for their continued support and faith in what we’re working to achieve. A special thank you to outgoing Board Chair, Vic Huard, for the leadership, guidance and vision he has brought to the organization, and to Julie Breuer for her insight and critical eye while serving on the inaugural Board of Directors.”
Audra Krueger, Executive Director