Canadian co-ops win $200,000 in The National Co-op Challenge

GUELPH, ON, Oct. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Local communities across Canada are about to find out the difference that co-operatives can really make in their communities with the announcement this morning of the winners of The Co-operators National Co-op Challenge. This social media contest allowed small and emerging Canadian co-ops to compete for a share of $200,000 in prize money. The eight winning co-ops each received $25,000 to support the growth and development of their business.

Each finalist produced a short video about their co-op, how it benefits their community and the projects that would be supported with the prize money. Following the co-operative democratic model, the Canadian public was given a say in choosing the winners by voting for their favourites. The two co-operatives in each of the four regions that garnered the most votes during the month-long voting period were declared the winners.

Thousands of Canadians got involved and cast their votes for the co-ops they felt would make the biggest impact in their communities.  The winning co-ops are:

Atlantic Region:
Acadian Crafts and Cuisine (Coopérative Artisanale de Chéticamp) (Chéticamp, N.S.)
Valley's Best Co-operative Limited (Wolfville, N.S.)

Quebec Region:
Café Cambio Coopérative de Travail (Chicoutimi)
Les Grands Rangs, coopérative de solidarité des terroirs de Portneuf (Ste-Catherine-De-La-Jacques-Cartier)

Ontario Region:
Come As You Are (Toronto)
The Mustard Seed Co-operative Grocery (Hamilton)

West Region:
Cedar Opportunities Cooperative (Nanaimo, B.C.)
Victory Gardens Co-op (Vancouver, B.C.)

In addition, a grand prize winner was drawn at random from among the eight winning co-ops. The lucky co-op was Acadian Crafts and Cuisine of Chéticamp, Nova Scotia, which will receive a professional video shoot and additional marketing and public relations consultation services from The Co-operators.

"All of the contestants are small and emerging locally owned and controlled co-operatives that respond to needs in their communities," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "They mirror the diversity of the co-op sector in Canada, showing that there are values-based alternatives driven not by profit, but by a desire to serve their members and promote a more fair, equitable and inclusive society. Congratulations to all!"

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $33 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean's magazine. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE: The Co-operators

For further information:

Leonard Sharman
The Co-operators
519-767-3937


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