Community-led financing: Investing in your own backyard

An investment co-op is a great way for folks in your community to invest their additional funds into their own backyard and stimulate the local economy.

Our Community Engagement Coordinator Ryley Hawkeswood will welcome guests Lindsay Alliban of the Gull Lake Development Cooperative and Wendy O’Connor of the Sooke Community Investment Cooperative to talk more about how investing locally can help with local business succession and economic development strategies.

Join us on April 8th at 1 p.m. (C.S.T.) to hear from these incredible guests who helped start and are a part of investment co-ops in their community, and learn how they can be a unique strategy for creating community-led financing!

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Guest Bios

Lindsay Alliban: Revitalizing a sense of community in rural villages and towns is a passion of Lindsay’s. Her work portrays the value she holds in the quality of life found in rural Saskatchewan and believes in the success of rural Saskatchewan people and businesses. She works as an Economic Development officer in multiple southwest communities and owns and operates The Bethany Social house – a restored historic church venue for weddings, music and workshops. She has dedicated countless hours working on unique community projects such as- Chinook International High School Program, Renewable Energy Community Projects, Youth Outreach, Heritage conservation and most recently Community Cooperatives.

Lindsay continuously models her belief that if there is anywhere you can build something from nothing, small town Saskatchewan is that place. With a little creativity and team work; and a driving force like Lindsay, anything can be accomplished in our rural villages that we all love so much!

Wendy O’Connor: Wendy had been a dedicated customer at the beloved local Sooke coffee house Stick in the Mud since her move to Sooke in 2008. When the owner announced he was closing the coffee house April 15th 2023, she and a few other Sooke coffee drinkers sprang into action to “save” and retain what they considered to be the beating heart of Sooke. On June 19th 2023 the Sooke Community Investment Cooperative was officially incorporated, and the mad dash to recruit members and investors began in earnest. The Stick in the Mud closed its doors on July 23rd. SCIC officially purchased the coffee house on Sept 4th and it re-opened for business as Cafe VOSINO on Sept 18th. Wendy believes in promoting teamwork, has strong interpersonal skills and works to keep morale up wherever she goes. Wendy is a wife, mother, grandmother, volunteer and butler to the family pets. When not at home in Sooke, she likes getting lost down back roads, camping with husband Chris in their truck camper.


“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