Emerging co-ops to compete for $200,000 as The Co-operators launches the National Co-op Challenge

GUELPH, ON, May 5, 2014 /CNW/ - Starting today, emerging and small co-operatives across Canada have the opportunity to compete for a share of $200,000 as The Co-operators launched the third annual National Co-op Challenge. The online contest allows Canadians to decide which of these co-ops will win grants to help in their growth and development. Following the co-operative democratic model, the format allows anyone to vote for their favourite co-operative online.

Once all applications have been reviewed, four finalists will be selected from each of four regions from across the country. They will have an opportunity to make a short video about their co-op, which will be posted on the contest website. The public will then vote for their favourites. The top two vote-getters in each region will receive prizes of $25,000. All finalists will also receive a consultation session to aid in their business development.

"As a large co-operative organization we are pleased to support and encourage the success of emerging and small Canadian co-ops through this contest," said Kathy Bardswick, CEO and president of The Co-operators. "There are many co-ops across Canada making a difference in their communities and these grants will help them make an even greater impact. We are looking forward to seeing a diversity of co-ops competing, and we encourage everyone to vote."

Eligible co-ops' applications are being accepted until May 30. For the application form and more details, visit The National Co-op Challenge section of The Co-operators website at www.cooperators.ca/en/About-Us/foundation/national-coop-challenge.aspx.

Now in its third year, The National Co-op Challenge was initially developed in 2012 in celebration of the United Nations proclaimed International Year of Co-operatives.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $36 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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