June 23, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CO-OP START-UP ORGANIZATION RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION 

SASKATOON, SK.

The Saskatoon-based co-op start-up organization, Co-operatives First, has received this year’s John Logue ACE Award for its work in co-op education. Presented by the Association of Co-operative Educators (ACE) – an international organization of researchers, educators, developers – the award recognizes those “whose educational programs, technical assistance or research acts as a catalyst for change by creating innovative co-operatives.”

“We are very proud to be recognized for our work in co-op education,” said Audra Krueger, Co-operatives First’s Executive Director. “The Co-operatives First team is constantly developing innovative ways to increase awareness and understanding of the co-operative model. Our goal is to reach new audiences who don’t yet know how to benefit from this unique corporate structure.”

Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) and the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS) began funding the newly formed non-profit organization in 2015 because of a lack of awareness of the co-operative model in rural and Indigenous communities. After five years in operation, Co-operatives First has created an impressive suite of workshops, courses, articles, e-books, and other resources to help people learn about — and start — co-ops.

“Co-operatives First has made significant contributions to rural and Indigenous economic development in western Canada,” said Sheldon Stener, Co-operatives First’s board chair and General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at FCL. “We have worked with nearly 150 groups looking to start a co-op and have brought valuable educational tools and resources to often hard-to-reach regions in new and exciting ways.”

Some of the achievements the award announcement highlighted were:

  • Educating over 2000 people through online courses and workshops on governance and the co-operative model, including a course specifically designed for federal government employees and an accredited workshop for economic developers
  • The YourWayTogether.ca website, workshop, and guidebook, which focus on how to form a co-operative on First Nations and suggests ways the model could benefit Indigenous communities
  • TheBackRoadDiaries.ca video series, an annual road trip across western Canada by young storytellers that highlights the benefits and diversity of co-ops in rural and Indigenous communities across western Canada

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CONTACT

Dan Matthews
Manager, Strategy and Communications, Co-operatives First
dan@cooperativesfirst.com
(306) 382-4422

BACKGROUND

Co-operatives First is a non-profit organization funded by Federated Co-operatives Limited and the Co-operative Retailing System. Founded in 2015, the organization provides co-op start-up resources, such as feasibility studies, business plans, and incorporation support to rural and Indigenous co-op entrepreneurs across western Canada. Our goal is to help leaders in these communities build new businesses, grow local economies, and support community development.

Learn more at CooperativesFirst.com

ACE is a membership organization that links educators, researchers, cooperative members, and cooperative developers across cooperative sectors and national borders to enhance cooperative development, strengthen cooperatives, promote professionalism and improve public understanding.

Learn more at ACE.coop

“I thoroughly enjoyed the Good Governance Matters course offered by Co-operatives First. The course provided a solid background on governance generally and specific examples of good governance practices in co-operatives. It is uncommon to find governance training specific to co-operatives so this was refreshing.”

Janet Taylor (Corporate Secretary)

Libro Credit Union

“The Good Governance Matters Course was a valuable course. I shared it with the [Arctic Co-operatives Limited] Senior Leadership Team. If it ever comes up again, I highly recommend others to take it.”

Mary Nirlungayuk (Corporate Secretary and Vice-President, Corporate Services)

Arctic Co-operatives Limited

“The online course, Good Governance Matters was very informative, easy to navigate and discussed issues relevant to our needs as a Board of Directors. This course is a great tool for boards to build their knowledge to become strong, strategic boards.”

Lori Sanders (President)

Sherwood Co-op

“This course has greatly increased my understanding of what good governance could/should look like and how each part (boards, management, members) plays a vital role in the co-operative’s success.”

2017 PARTICIPANT

“This course was highly enjoyable, and relevant to working in not only the co-op space, but with any group that needs to make decisions.”

2017 PARTICIPANT