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Vancouver Island co-ops receive grants from The Co-operators

Jul 6, 2012

GUELPH, ON, July 6, 2012 /CNW/ - On the eve of the International Day of Co-operatives, two emerging Vancouver Island co-ops learned they will be receiving a combined $11,500 to support their development. Cowichan Bio-Diesel Co-op and Hub City Cycles Community Co-op each received funding to further develop their business and community reach. They are two of 16 grants announced, including seven in BC, provided through The Co-operators Foundation Co-operative Development Program (CDP) that supports emerging and expanding Canadian co-operatives.

"We're very happy to be receiving funding from The Co-operators for the development of the BC Biofuel Network (BCBN). Currently, pure biofuels such as 100% biodiesel are only offered by locally based organizations to local members. The BCBN aims to bring together biofuel organizations from all over the province so that, for example, a member of the Vancouver Biodiesel Co-op can get biofuel in Victoria from the Island Biodiesel Co-op or any other region and vice versa," said Brian Roberts, President Cowichan Bio-Diesel Co-op. "Really, what we're creating is a co-op of biofuel co-ops and with this being the International Year of Co-operatives the timing couldn't be better for such a co-operative initiative."

Cowichan Bio-Diesel Co-op (CB-DC) in Duncan is a producer and consumer co-operative dedicated to the local production, use, and promotion of biofuels to achieve a more ethical, environmentally sustainable local economy. The co-op provides 100% bio-diesel made locally from recycled cooking oil to its 180 members. The grant of $8,500 will support the creation of a BC Biofuel Network with the goal of supporting the development of start-up biofuel co-ops, and linking existing biofuel co-ops in order to allow them to expand their revenue base and member access to biofuels beyond their current regional limits.

Hub City Cycles Community Co-op in Nanaimo is a new multi-stakeholder co-op dedicated to promoting bicycle use and bike culture in Nanaimo. Established in February 2012, its goal is to increase community membership and to be a "hub" for people to share skills and bike know how, as well as to purchase services. The grant of $3,000 will be used to develop its branding and promotion campaign.

"The United Nations declared 2012 The International Year of Co-operatives with the theme 'Co-operative enterprises build a better world' and our continued support of co-ops helps make this theme a reality in communities across Canada," explained Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "Each of these organizations has demonstrated a keen ability to make a positive impact on its members and its community. These co-ops can make a relatively small amount of money go a long way, so we know our support will make a real difference."

Tomorrow marks the International Day of Co-operatives where co-operatives across the country will be raising awareness and celebrating the impact co-operatives make in Canada and around the world.

Over the past 20 years, The Co-operators has provided $1,720,397 in grants and investments to developing Canadian co-operatives through The Co-operators Foundation Co-operative Development Program.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $38 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. As a proud member and supporter of the co-operative sector, The Co-operators is pleased to celebrate 2012: The International Year of Co-operatives. For more information visit

For further information:

Leonard Sharman
The Co-operators

Brian Roberts
Cowichan Bio-Diesel Co-operative

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