Starting a cooperative — and their potential for impact — explained.

What is a co-op? And why is it a good model for a social purpose organization?

Why It Matters

The pandemic was hard on small business owners, their staff and their communities. Cooperatives can be a viable, alternative business ownership model that creates both social and financial value for communities, and prioritizes people and planet as much as profit.

This story is in partnership with Desjardins Group. 

When someone’s looking to start a purpose-oriented business or non-profit, their business model is likely one of the first considerations — after their mission, of course. 

While for some the cooperative model is a no-brainer, many have no idea what the term even means. 

That’s why Desjardins, one of Canada’s largest cooperative financial institutions and the largest federation of credit unions in North America, hosted a webinar during Co-op Week (a Canada-wide celebration of cooperatives) on this very subject — here’s what you need to know:


What is a cooperative?

Few Canadians understand what exactly it means for an organization to be a cooperative, the panelists said. Meg Ronson, training program director at CoopZone and committee mem

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