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Quebec co-ops among winners as $220,000 awarded in The National Co-op Challenge

Dec 3, 2012

GUELPH, ON, Dec. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - Three emerging co-ops in Quebec have each won a share of $220,000 in prize money in The National Co-op Challenge. The announcement was made today by The Co-operators, which created the contest in 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, by voting via Facebook.

Coopérative de solidarité ECTO of Montreal took 1st Prize in the Quebec Region, while two organizations based in Quebec City, Coop Roue-Libre de l'Université Laval and Nettoieprêt, cooperative de travailleurs, finished in the second and third spots respectively, based on the number of votes received between October 22 and November 21.

1st Prize: Coopérative de solidarité ECTO, Montreal ($30,000)
ECTO is a co-operative co-working space that brings together a community of workers by providing its members with shared working space in a positive environment that fosters collaboration and productivity. Small organizations and independent workers engaged in any type of work come together in this space to get their work done and network. The prize money will help it expand and offer new workshops, training and other events for its members and the community.

2nd Prize: Coop Roue-Libre de l'Université Laval, Quebec City ($15,000)
A bicycle co-op at Université Laval, Coop Roue-Libre supports its members and the cycling community by offering workshops on bike repair and mechanics, as well as providing secure bike racks at events. With its prize money, it will pursue its plan of designing new prototypes of secure bike racks, which will be built and transported on newly designed trailers.

3rd Prize: Nettoieprêt, cooperative de travailleurs, Quebec City ($10,000)
A worker co-op, Nettoieprêt provides environmentally responsible commercial and industrial cleaning services in the greater Quebec City area. It helps integrate many new immigrants and visible minorities into the job market, and plans to use its prize money in a marketing campaign, including the promotion of its new services, snow removal and household cleaning.

"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. For a full list of the winners from all four Regions, please visit The Co-operators Facebook page.

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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