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Canadian co-ops win $220,000 from The Co-operators in The National Co-op Challenge

Dec 3, 2012

GUELPH, ON, Dec. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, The Co-operators announced the winners of The National Co-op Challenge, each winning their share of $220,000 in prize money. The three Canadian co-operatives in each of four regions that garnered the most votes from the public over the past month earned the funding to support their development. The Challenge was created by The Co-operators as part of its celebration of the International Year of Co-operatives. In accordance with co-operative principles, it empowered individual Canadians by giving them a voice in choosing the winners from among dozens of emerging co-ops.

Based on the thousands of votes cast via Facebook, the top three co-ops in each of four regions were awarded $30,000, $15,000 and $10,000. The 1st Prize Winners are: Gulf Aquarium and Marine Station Cooperative of Cheticamp, Nova Scotia; Montreal's Coopérative de solidarité ECTO; Your Local Market Co-op of Stratford, Ontario; and Good Food Junction Co-operative of Saskatoon. Your Local Market Co-op was also randomly selected from among these four as the Grand Prize Winner. It will receive a professional video shoot and additional consultation services to support its future growth, in addition to the prize money.

"The winners, and all of the contestants in The National Co-op Challenge, reflect the diversity, richness and spirit of the co-operative sector in Canada. As these emerging organizations demonstrate, the future of co-ops in this country is very bright indeed," said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "Co-ops provide members with a meaningful voice in directing their organizations, so it was only fitting that The National Co-op Challenge would give Canadians a say in choosing the winners. Thousands of people engaged with us through Facebook over the past couple of months, and we are proud of the legacy we've created as part of our celebration of the International Year of Co-operatives."

Emerging co-ops from throughout Canada applied, and the 24 finalists produced 90-second videos introducing their co-ops and outlining their plans on how they would use the prize money. Voting was open to anyone with a Facebook page, from October 22 to November 21.

The winners are:

Atlantic region:
1st Prize: Gulf Aquarium and Marine Station Cooperative ($30,000)
2nd Prize: Lotus Co-operative Marketplace ($15,000)
3rd Prize: Coopérative La Bikery Co-operative ($10,000)

Quebec region:
1st Prize: Coopérative de solidarité ECTO ($30,000)
2nd Prize: Coop Roue-Libre de l'Université Laval ($15,000)
3rd Prize: Nettoieprêt, coopérative de travailleurs($10,000)

Ontario region:
1st Prize: Your Local Market Co-op ($30,000)
2nd Prize: La Siembra Co-operative ($15,000)
3rd Prize: West End Food Co-op ($10,000)

West region:
1st Prize: Good Food Junction Co-operative ($30,000)
2nd Prize: Cortes Natural Food Co-op ($15,000)
3rd Prize: Peg City Car Co-op ($10,000)

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 and Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens 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

SOURCE: The Co-operators

For further information:

Leonard Sharman
The Co-operators

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