Co-operatives are businesses that can have a big impact. They’re started by groups of regular people who want to improve their own lives and find their own solutions. 

Whether you’re looking for an answer to that burning co-op question or you want to understand all the ins and outs of co-operatives, Introduction to Co-ops is the course for you. Using a micro-learning approach, these modules cover topics like: 

  • Basics of the co-operative business model  
  • Indigenous co-operatives in Canada  
  • How to get more involved in your co-op 
  • How to start a co-operative business  
  • Insights into how co-ops address difficult situations 

As you work through the course you can earn certificates of completion. Use these certificates for professional development and to track your progress. If you complete all three modules about starting a co-op, you’ll earn the Certified Co-op Entrepreneur certificate. If you complete all Co-op Professional modules, you’ll become a Certified Co-op Professional. 


Our Co-op Entrepreneurship course takes you step-by-step through the process of starting a co-operative business. From early planning and incorporation to board governance and business plans this course helps you take your business venture or community-based initiative to the next level. To earn the Co-op Entrepreneur Certificate, you’ll complete these five modules in our Introduction to Co-operatives Course: 

  • Intro to Co-ops Orientation  
  • Business Model Basics  
  • Starting a Co-op Part 1 
  • Starting a Co-op Part 2 
  • Starting a Co-op Part 3 

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Our Co-op Professional course provides a unique introduction to the ownership, operations, and governance of co-operative businesses. If you’re a member, employee, or director of a co-operative, this course will help you understand how you fit into the organization and where you can participate to help the co-op succeed. To earn the Co-op Professional Certificate, you’ll complete these five modules in our Introduction to Co-operatives Course: 

  • Intro to Co-ops Orientation  
  • Business Model Basics  
  • Co-op Professional: Membership  
  • Co-op Professional: Operations  
  • Co-op Professional: Governance 

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Here’s What People are Saying About Intro to Co-ops

The Introduction to Co-operatives Courses are a great tool for anyone who is interested in learning more about co-ops and the potential they could bring to their community. These courses allow you to learn step by step, the in’s and out’s of how co-op’s work and how you can make your co-op dream a reality. The courses are broken down into very manageable chucks, making it easy to work on when you have some extra time throughout the day. The modules videos are an excellent tool and definitely something I will go back to for reference moving forward. I highly recommend these courses and Co-operatives First to anyone interested in learning more about co-ops. 

-Lauren Johnson, Administrator of Shaunavon Opportunity Development Fund 


“I highly recommend Co-operatives First’s Co-op Professional course for both board members and Co-op employees.  The modules in the course cover co-operatives from three key perspectives – membership, operations, and governance – which combine to provide a very complete view of the roles and responsibilities of members, staff, and the board.  Regardless of which category someone taking the course falls under, by completing the course they will gain a deeper understanding of not only how they contribute to the success of their Co-op, they will also better understand how the other roles contribute to the success of their Co-op.  The course material is practical and pragmatic, and the case studies are excellent and add to the learning process.”

-John Stevenson, Board President of Sherwood Co-operative Association 


“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