National Co-op Challenge finalists announced

Public voting to decide who shares $200,000 in prizes

GUELPH, ON, Sept. 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Public voting begins today in The National Co-op Challenge, a social media contest created by The Co-operators to support the growth of small and emerging Canadian co-operatives. Sixteen co-ops -- four from each of four regions across Canada -- are now competing for their share of $200,000 in prize money. Canadians can visit the contest website to vote for their favourite co-operative.

Small and emerging Canadian co-ops were invited to apply for a chance to win $25,000 while raising awareness of their enterprise and educating Canadians about the co-operative business model. Applications from across the country were reviewed by Co-operators employees, and the sixteen finalists chosen have each created a short video. It is now up to Canadians to decide which two finalists in each of the Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and West regions will win $25,000 apiece. Voting closes October 1.

"Empowering Canadians to vote mirrors the principle of democratic member control on which all co-ops are based," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "Once again this year, we have a great group of finalists that reflect the diversity of the co-op sector in this country. Best of luck to all the finalists!"

The finalists for each region are:

Atlantic Region:
Atlantic Co-operative Publishers (Moncton, NB)
Coopérative de développement régional Acadie  (Caraquet, NB)
La Coopérative d'hébergement Le Bel Âge  (Wellington, PEI)
Tignish Health Co-operative Association (Tignish, PEI)

Québec Region:
Coopérative Culturelle du Vieux-Beloeil (Beloeil)
Coopérative de solidarité bio-équitable de l'Outaouais (Gatineau)
Coopérative La Mauve (Saint-Vallier)
Coopérative de solidarité agroforestière de Minganie - Le Grenier Boréal (Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan)

Ontario Region:
Cahiague Co-operative Homes Inc. (Brantford)
Garden City Food Cooperative (St. Catharines)
Ontario Co-operative Association (Guelph)
Niagara Local Food Co-operative (St. Catharines)

West Region:
Urban Eatin' Gardeners Worker Co-operative (Winnipeg)
Glorious Organics Workers Co-operative (Aldergrove, BC)
Regina Car Share Co-operative (Regina)
Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-operative (Vancouver)

To view the videos and cast your vote, visit The National Co-op Challenge website at http://theco-op.ca/XMSFay

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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