Innovation in the Co-operative Sector

Rural

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Indigenous Communities

Across Canada, from forestry to fisheries to farming and mining, Indigenous people are playing an increasing role in economic development. Indigenous owned businesses have been growing in number and expanding.

The co-operative approach is a good model for developing enterprises that flourish within Indigenous communities. The values of collaboration, sharing and respect for each other and the land can be central to the business model of an enterprise and ensure that growth is sustainable and community support is strong.

The Kuujjuaq co-operative was the first established in Nunavik, with start-up funds raised through the sale of miniature sculptures which became a symbol of Indigenous handicrafts. Today, relying on retail sales from its store and attached hotel that draws on the hunting and fishing tourism activity, members of the Kuujjuaq take pride and benefit from what their community has to offer.

High Speed Broadband Internet Service

High speed connection to the Internet is vital to social development and economic progress. It’s no longer a nice to have, it’s a “need to have”.

In a country like Canada, urban areas are often very well provided for in terms of high speed Internet connections, but rural and remote communities often face a unique challenge. Many traditional providers have trouble justifying the investment in delivering a great broadband service to rural areas, based on the revenue and profit they can forecast.

A co-op approach can help bridge this gap, creating an economically viable path to ensure that individuals and businesses everywhere can get the connectivity they need. From farmers to tourism operators, students and teachers, high quality Internet service unlocks potential and builds social cohesion.

The Lawrencetown Village Commission set up a co-operative in rural Nova Scotia enabling its residents to install, operate and benefit from broadband services they didn’t previously have access to. The community-led initiative will ensure self-sustained Internet services owned by the subscribers.