Two Atlantic co-ops win $25,000 in The National Co-op Challenge

GUELPH, ON, Oct. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The Co-operators announced today that Acadian Crafts and Cuisine (Coopérative Artisanale de Chéticamp) of Chéticamp, N.S., and Valley's Best Co-operative of Wolfville, N.S., and have each won $25,000 as the Atlantic Region winners of The National Co-op Challenge. In addition, Acadian Crafts and Cuisine was randomly drawn from among the eight regional winners across the country as the grand prize winner, and will receive a professional video shoot and additional marketing and public relations consultation services from The Co-operators.

The social media contest showcased 16 emerging co-operatives, with four finalists selected in each of four regions across Canada. 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. The public was given the power to choose the winners in each region by voting for their favourites either on Facebook or a contest microsite, from September 18 to October 18.

"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!"

For almost 50 years, Acadian Crafts and Cuisine, a local artisan-owned cooperative, has offered a wide range of handmade products in its gift shop, specializing in handmade hooked rugs, while serving traditional Acadian cuisine in its adjacent restaurant. The funding will be used to improve the curb appeal of the building, to better position the business within the thriving local tourism industry.

Valley's Best Co-operative is a locally-owned food enterprise created to meet consumer demand for accountability and food transparency, providing a one-stop-shop for consumers who want to buy local, affordable and fairly traded food products. It believes in "real food from real people" and encourage a healthy and sustainable community. The prize money will be used for a marketing campaign to promote the co-operative, its vision and the business model.

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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