Business students don’t often learn about co-operative models — why not?

“We’re constantly being influenced by capitalist organization models, so no one’s ever an expert in co-ops.”

Why It Matters

Co-op workers say a lack of awareness is holding the co-operative business model back, but including this alternative in university and college curriculum could bring more young innovators into the fold.

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When Dionne Pohler was a child in Spalding, Saskatchewan, co-operatives were the only businesses in town.

The village of roughly 300 was served by a credit union and a Co-op Food Store, where the manager knew everyone’s name and let residents keep a tab. Pohler remembers it as a friendly and welcoming place.

Years later, while working towards her PhD, Pohler was employed by a retail co-op in Saskatoon. She then went on to research collective organizations — like labour unions and co-ops — before landing a teaching position at the University of

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