About
Co-operatives First

Co-operatives First is a non-profit organization funded by Federated Co-operatives Limited and the Co-operative Retailing System. Founded in 2015, the organization provides start-up resources, such as feasibility studies, business plans, online courses, and incorporation support to rural and Indigenous entrepreneurs across western Canada. Our goal is to help leaders in these communities build new businesses, grow local economies, and support community development.

News Stories

A conversation with Chief Darcy Bear about First Nation economic development

A conversation with April Roberts-Poitras on developing co-operatives on First Nation

A brief survey of Indigenous Co-ops in Canada

Your way, together

A 3-hour Workshop on Co-operatives

Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs often find innovative solutions to challenges and creative ways to improve their economic and social wellbeing. Co-operatives have a role to play in this innovation, and the legal structure is an excellent option for groups or individuals hoping to work together to start a business.

This free three-hour workshop explores how a co-op might fit within an Indigenous community’s economic development strategy. Take this unique workshop to:

  • Discover new approaches to economic development
  • Identify opportunities for new businesses, job creation, and growth
  • Explore collaborative solutions to real problems
  • Connect with professionals that support Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs

Why a co-op?

Because it’s a different – and sometimes better – way to do business

Indigenous communities are growing. They are vibrant and actively exploring opportunities to develop, strengthen, and prosper. We believe this energy and curiosity will do and create innovations and businesses that will lead the world.

But Indigenous people won’t do it alone. They will do it together, together as individuals, and together as communities. Your way, together reflects this perspective and the history of Indigenous peoples working together to grow and thrive.

One way to work together is by using the co-operative model.