Skip to main content

News Releases

St. Mary's University receives $100,000 to develop the next generation of co-operative business leaders

Aug 9, 2011

GUELPH, ON, Aug. 9, 2011 /CNW/ - Today, The Co-operators announced a contribution of $100,000 over five years to support the Masters of Management - Co-operatives and Credit Unions (MMCCU) at St. Mary's University in Halifax. The MMCCU is an international management program with a rigorous business curriculum designed to prepare students to become leaders within the co-op and credit union sector. The only program of its kind in the world, it offers many of the types of courses found in traditional business schools, but approaches every subject from the perspective of co-operatives' unique business structure, purpose and values.

The funding, provided through The Co-operators Foundation, will be allocated from 2012 to 2016 to the Co-operative Management Education Co-operative (CMEC), which developed the program that was launched in partnership with St. Mary's University in 2003. The Co-operators, one of the largest financial co-operatives in Canada and a founding partner of CMEC, has provided a total of $225,500 toward the development of CMEC and the program since 2000. Its staff members are also actively involved: 13 employees have enrolled in the program, and one of its executives currently serves as the Chairperson of the CMEC Board of Directors.

"If you look at doing something innovative as a co-operative business in Canada, The Co-operators is the first organization with which you would explore forming a partnership," said Tom Webb, Program Manager, MMCCU. "Large successful co-ops often struggle with maintaining their co-operative advantage - The Co-operators works at it.  Without their support this program would not have been possible."

Since its inception, 60 students from eight countries have enrolled in the MMCCU, and 12 scholars from four countries have been recruited to teach the international curriculum. Part of the university's Sobey School of Business, it has created the world's only Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Co-operatives.

"The challenges and opportunities executives face in a co-op or credit union are different from those one would encounter in other types of business, yet the model is often overlooked in business schools," said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "There is no program that does a better job of preparing the next generation of Canadian co-op leaders than the MMCCU."

According to the Canadian Co-operative Association, there are approximately 8,800 co-operatives in Canada, which employ 150,000 people. They exist in virtually every sector of the economy and control some $275 billion in assets. Despite the sector's magnitude, the MMCCU is the only Masters-level program in Canada that focuses on preparing its students for careers in co-ops and credit unions.

About The Co-operators:

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $41 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 ranked #1 among the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada by Corporate Knights, and listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada. For more information visit

For further information:

Katie Dance
The Co-operators
519-824-4400 ext. 306071

Back to news releases

Find us on:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube