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Vision: An Ontario where co-operatives contribute to the sustainability and growth of our economy and communities. Mission: To lead, cultivate and connect.

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Presentation on theme: "Vision: An Ontario where co-operatives contribute to the sustainability and growth of our economy and communities. Mission: To lead, cultivate and connect."— Presentation transcript:

1 Vision: An Ontario where co-operatives contribute to the sustainability and growth of our economy and communities. Mission: To lead, cultivate and connect the co-operative sector Ontario Co-operative Association

2 Topics Co-operatives in General Local Food Co-ops – Opportunities Local Food Co-ops – Issues Steps to Starting a Co-op Resources

3 A Co-operative is... An autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly- owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

4 Where do Co-ops come from? Co-ops have strong roots in both 19 th century rural communities and the newly industrialized urban areas of the late 1800s Focus on providing goods and services to members meant co-ops were formed to provide: Essential services in under-resourced communities Fair and accessible alternatives to existing services Many of these same motivations exist today, but with additional pressures and trends

5 Co-operative Principles 1. Voluntary and open membership 2. Democratic member control 3. Member economic participation 4. Autonomy and independence 5. Education, training and information sharing 6. Co-operation among co-operatives 7. Concern for community Elaborated in 1995 by the International Co-operative Alliance

6 Co-op Values Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

7 Co-ops Around the World One billion people 25% increase since 2007 Driven by principles and values 100 million jobs

8 Co-operatives by Sector (Canada 2007)

9 Co-ops in Canada Canada’s 10,000+ co-ops and credit unions have combined assets of approximately $167 billion Co-ops and credit unions employ over 160,000 people Co-op success rate is 2x private business For profit and not-for-profit 8 out of 10 Canadians support co-ops over large corporations

10 Benefits of Co-operatives Fulfills people’s needs Creates jobs Supports the triple bottom line (economic, social and ecological) Builds and enhances local prosperity Enhances democratic participation Twice the survival rate of regular businesses

11 Opportunities Fastest growing co-operative sector in Ontario Growing interest in local/known food Momentum in Northern Ontario and established co-operatives Resources available Democracy

12 Issues Governance Grant Reliance Financial Energy Dissipation Membership Engagement Must meet the needs of customers Democracy

13 Best Advice-Strong Planning and Development Basic Business Feasibility Governance Structure Business Plan Decrease risk of business failing Diminish Risk of Costly Mistakes

14 10 Steps to Develop a Co-op Identify a real need/opportunity Assemble a committed group of interested people Conduct a basic feasibility study: market review and financial feasibility Write a comprehensive business plan Determine the organizational structure/governance decisions

15 10 steps continued Incorporate the co-operative Recruit and educate members Have the first General Meeting Open for business

16 Notes on 10 steps Not linear Starting a business is a complex activity Range of skills required, range of people involved Weeks, months You do not have to re-invent the wheel

17 Incorporating a Co-operative 5 people (3 for a worker co-op) Co-operative Corporations Act (Guide Available through On Co-op) Articles of Incorporation and bylaws Regulating body: Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO)

18 Contact Information Maureen Strickland Ontario Co-operative Association LOFC – Local Organic Food Co- operatives


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