During the transition from steam and horse to fossil fuel, the co-op model really began to prove its worth as a tool for helping people work together. The model also helped rural farmers and businesses compete as local economies began interacting globally in the past. This raises the question: what does the future of rural co-ops look like?
The co-op model is a tool for organizing people and sharing resources in a way that is fair, efficient, and effective. It can also do a mean job of helping groups of people compete in a regional, national, or global marketplace. The model does this by increasing a group or individual’s capacity to participate within markets and economies they otherwise couldn’t.
With the ongoing amalgamations of municipalities, growing influence of Tribal Councils and increasing sophistication of digital communication tools, there is increasing opportunity for working together. Co-ops have a place in capturing this opportunity.
But there is one key piece of modern infrastructure missing in a lot of rural and remote areas: broadband. To enter new markets, create capacity and grow new opportunities, both rural and Indigenous communities need consistent access to high-quality broadband.
“Heather and the team at Co-operatives First are top-notch. Not only their knowledge but their understanding of the project. They have truly helped us along every step of the way. Their timely response and knowledge of the steps are extraordinary. They are forthcoming with information. This is one of the most knowledgeable and friendliest teams I have ever had the pleasure of working with.”
“Co-operatives First made the process of establishing our Artisan Co-operative a very clear and easy process. The expanse of available tools and resources provided by Co-operatives First answers many questions and lightens the workload. Greatly appreciate having the connections made with Trista and Kyle, they keep the co-operative moving forward.”
Nehiyawaskiy Indigenous Peoples Art Co-op
“Our experience working with the Co-operatives First team was absolutely fabulous. The staff was accommodating, knowledgeable and patient. It was truly a breath of fresh air to have such a wealth of skill and resources available to a non-profit. They were invaluable to our successful launch!”
Heart Linked Community Services Cooperative
“Working with Co-operatives First was fantastic! We are still new to the cooperative world, and we relied heavily on their advice and expertise when drafting our rules/bylaws, and our memorandum of association. The team has experience with many different cooperative models, so they provided advice on what has and hasn’t worked for other cooperatives. We wouldn’t have been able to incorporate without their help!”
“We have had a very positive experience with everyone at Co-operatives First. They have helped us in multiple ways. Right from the first step in knowing how to incorporate, how to set our business and offering ideas for us to help steer us in the right direction plus allowing us to really make our own decisions. If our decisions go off track, they have gently guided us back to where we needed to be. The Co-operatives first guys are always eager to answer questions, and give ideas to us that got us off the ground.”