Province Releases Results Of Co-Op Surveys/Partners With Co-Operative Associations To Launch New Co-Op Growth Strategy

Oct 15, 2009 | Government News

Wowchuck official headshot

Minister Rosann Wowchuk

Members, Public Agree Co-ops Have Room to Grow in Manitoba: Wowchuk

Two surveys on co-operative enterprises in Manitoba have been completed and can be used as planning tools to help guide future co-op development, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk, minister responsible for co-operative development, announced today.

“The united power of a co-operative can be a strong economic building block for a community,” said Wowchuk. “Our research on co-operatives is one of the best planning tools to determine how to improve the success of launching and maintaining co-ops in rural, northern and urban communities.”

One survey focused on co-operatives from the perspective of 802 members of the general public, the other from the perspective of directors of 408 co-operatives.

Results of the surveys indicated Manitobans have very positive impressions of co-operatives, giving them high ratings on almost all factors tested. Almost all think that co-operatives make a strong economic contribution to the province, while providing jobs in Manitoba communities. Other very positive impressions include co-operatives’ reputations, value and customer service.

“A successful co-operative benefits the members, their community and the economy of the province,” said Wowchuk. “Half of Manitoba co-operatives provide financial or non-financial support to local community events and, overall, these co-operatives allocated approximately $3.5 million to community events in their past fiscal year. They are a valuable part of our society and need to be encouraged.”

Through Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives GO Offices, the province offers resources, educational tools and mentorship to individuals, groups and communities wishing to develop new co-operatives and to existing co-ops looking to expand their operations. Financial programs such co-operative loan guarantees and co-op promotion assistance are also available.

The survey reports are available online at 

www.manitoba.coop/.

See the Backgrounder to this news release here

Province Partners With Co-Operative Associations To Launch New Co-Op Growth Strategy 

The Province of Manitoba today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Manitoba Cooperative Association (MCA) and the Conseil de développement économique des municipalitiés bilingues du Manitoba (CDEM), formalizing their partnership and launching the new Manitoba Co operative Strategy. 

“Through the past year the province has been working with the MCA and CDEM to design and establish appropriate resources to help new, existing and future co-operatives effectively manage and grow their business interests,” said Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) Minister Rosann Wowchuk, minister responsible for co-operative development.  “This MOU is a clear demonstration of the province’s commitment to northern, rural and urban economic development, helping communities benefit from the united power of co-operatives.”

The signing took place at a banquet honouring the 28th annual Co-op Week and Credit Union Day in Manitoba. 

The minister noted, over a period of five years, the province is providing $1.25 million to help fund the Co-operative Development Assistance Program announced last year.  She said a project manager will be hired to co-ordinate and direct the operation of the strategy and assistance program. 

“Our partnership combines a wide variety of experience and expertise” said MCA chair Barry Gosnell.  “Through the strategy we’ve developed with MAFRI and CDEM, we can provide leadership for communities wanting to launch a co-operative, encourage new co-operative initiatives and help existing co-ops looking to expand business opportunities and grow.”

“The resources, educational tools and mentorships now available were developed following consultations with existing co-operatives and the public, and can provide practical solutions and direction on the successful development and operation of a variety of co-operatives,” said Louis Allain, executive director of the CDEM.  “We look forward to implementing this strategy to generate more success stories for Manitoba’s co-operative community.”

The Cooperative Development Strategy is available in both French and English on the MCA website at www.manitoba.coop/ and the CDEM website here.

 

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