To celebrate the talented business advisors who partner with us to bring feasibility studies, business plans, and organizational design to our cooperative start-up founders, we’re starting a Business Advisor Profile Series. You can read about some of these outstanding professionals below.

Cathy Edwards, entrepreneur and co-founder of Heart Linked Community Service Cooperative

Cathy Edwards is a business consultant, serial entrepreneur, and community builder from Saskatchewan. Her professional career is as broad as it is deep, and we love having her join us on a project.

Originally achieving an accounting degree, Edwards later earned a law degree and eventually moved on to real estate development. From there, she has played a role in a variety of startups and ventures, even co-founding a non-profit cooperative that offers youth retreats for young girls.

“I think all of those things mesh together really well in the sense that I’ve got a really strong professional foundation and have been able to use that to apply to startups and figure out what is the right recipe for success, both in my personal endeavours and with the groups that I consult with,” Edwards said.

“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.”

Weyburn Theatre

“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!”

Ananda Cooperative

“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.”

South East Butcher Block