Creating Connections

Expand your regional development toolbox

Economic development is changing, and homegrown solutions are playing a more prominent role in a region’s development strategy. Co-operative businesses can help with this strategy.

Creating Connections is a 3-hour online workshop designed for economic and business development professionals. Participants in the workshop explore this unique corporate structure and how it can support their regional strategies. The workshop is practical, results-focused, and delivered by experienced practitioners. Plus, this FREE course is EDAC accredited.

Our next workshop is 1 p.m. on May 15th, 2024 (Central time).


Take this course to earn the following certifications:

  • Economic Developers Association of Canada: 2 points towards your Ec.D.
  • Economic Developers Association of Manitoba: One advanced elective (maintaining your Community Edge certification)
  • Saskatchewan Economic Development Alliance: 2 points towards your P.CED and 1 hour towards maintaining your certification
  • Canadian Association of Management Consultants: 3 points towards maintaining your CMC certification

What you learn

Take this unique workshop to:

  • Identify where a co-op might fit in your community
  • Discover new opportunities for business development
  • Explore innovative solutions to investment readiness
  • Identify new business retention and expansion strategies
  • Increase local economic development, job creation, and growth


The Creating Connections workshop I took part in was so well laid out. It was full of great information and was very interactive! For any economic development department where a cooperative may be something that a group in your community is interested in, this workshop will give you the resources and tools you need to help them out! The staff at Cooperatives First is also always available if you have any questions along the way.” –Penny Schoonbaert, Community Economic Development Coordinator, Community Futures Heartland

The Co-operatives First Creating Connections workshop transformed the way that I think about co-operatives. The content and delivery of the workshop were engaging, informative and insightful, and provided me with information that I applied immediately to improve the quality of my consulting practice in ways that deliver lasting value for me, my colleagues, and my clients. I highly recommend this workshop to consultants seeking to improve their knowledge of the innovative co-operative business model and its impact on stakeholders.” –James Grieve CMC, CCXP, MBA, Catalyst Strategies

What others are saying

“Going to your seminar expanded my view of how businesses can be run beyond the typical business models. I enjoyed the workshop and came out of it seeing how my potential could increase the overall potential of a bigger community.” – University Student

“Kyle put on a fantastic workshop at Ambrose University that was informative, useful and practical. His facilitation was organic, engaging and relevant. Excited to see what other workshops they put on in the future!” – Non-profit employee

You may also be interested in our Introduction to Co-ops online course.

“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