June 2, 2021


SASKATOON – Every small town has something going for it — something uniquely its own. Co-operatives First, a non-profit organization in western Canada, wants to inspire rural people to discover, celebrate, and harness their “hometown advantage” to grow their local economies.

The Hometown Advantage campaign emphasizes the importance of people in small communities using their ingenuity to create and attract the services and infrastructure they need — and, of course, point out that co-operatives are a great way to do it.

The campaign includes:

  • A 7- part video series at about how small towns can capitalize on their unique attributes and opportunities
  • An e-book guide for Economic Developers and community leaders on how co-operatives fit into business retention and investment attraction strategies
  • A social media contest, with prizes of $500 Co-op gift cards, where participants post great things about their communities using #hometownadvantage
  • A webinar series, featuring timely conversations with economic development professionals about how to leverage local assets, grow the local economy and create community-building incentives.


“Rural people know the challenges that face their communities — they are also not afraid to roll up their sleeves and do the work of solving their own problems. With the Hometown Advantage campaign, we want to help people identify how to use the advantages and resources they already have to come up with local solutions.” – Heather Hallgrimson, Co-operatives First Business Development Lead

“For many years, people have built co-operatives to provide goods and services they need when no one else is doing it for them. Some people think the co-op model is a thing of the past — but co-ops can be a great way to help grow modern economies. The first steps are identifying an opportunity and finding a group of local people who want to work together to make things happen.” – Audra Krueger, Co-operatives First Executive Director

Media contact

Dan Matthews
Manager, strategy and communications
Co-operatives First
(306) 380-9239


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.


Video clips

“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.”


“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.”