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The Social and Solidarity Economy and Worker Co-ops

Co-ops inevitably overlap with other movements and in this webinar we will explore how worker co-ops fit into the Social and Solidarity Economy and with social enterprises. We invite participants to come with ideas of how to better partner in these spaces for mutual benefit, and have ideas on how CWCF can partner for the benefit of the worker co-op movement.

Definitions: What is the Social Economy? What is the Solidarity Economy? What are Social Enterprises?

How do worker co-ops fit into each of these?

What is the value of having worker co-ops link with the Social and Solidarity Economy?

Where is this collaboration working well?

Group Discussion:

  • What are the ways in which your worker co-op already collaborates in the Social & Solidarity Economy?  With Social Enterprises or other enterprises / organizations?  What are the challenges, and the benefits?
  • What are some additional ways you think that your worker co-op may be able to partner in these spaces?  What would your co-op hope to obtain, and what can it give, in such a partnership(s)? 
  • CWCF has partnered in the past most significantly with co-op associations (CMC, provincial co-op associations, CICOPA).  What other entities in the Social & Solidarity Economy do you think CWCF should consider collaborating?  For what purpose?

About the Presenter:
Sonja Novkovic is a Professor of Economics and Academic director of the International Centre for Co-operative Management at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada. She is Chair of the International Co-operative Alliance Research Committee, past president of the International Association for the Economics of Participation (IAFEP) and a member of the NCBA Council of Economists.

Her research interests are in the field of economic democracy, including labor-managed and cooperative firms, social economy, and comparative economic systems. She is involved in the development of the CoopIndex diagnostic tool for worker cooperatives, and a four year research project on co-operative governance funded by FWO – Belgium. Her co-edited volumes include Co-operatives and the World of Work (Routledge, 2019); Cooperativism and Local Development in Cuba: An agenda for Democratic Transformation (Brill, 2018); and Co-operative Governance Fit to Build Resilience in the Face of Complexity (ICA, Brussels 2015).

Register for the webinar here!

Association of Co-operative Educators Institute 2020 (Virtual)

Due to the global COVID-19 crisis, Association of Co-operative Educators (ACE) and Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) decided to join forces to offer the Co-operation Virtual Instititutes (CVI).

These Co-operation Virtual Institutes (CVI) will bring together co-operators, researchers, academicians, community activists, collective entrepreneurs, civil servants, experts and co-operative educators who will exchange on current hot topics of the co-operative sector.
The Institutes are currently organized in two phases:

Phase 1: from June 15–24, 2020
Phase 2: from September 2020 to May 2021
Please note: Our physical ACE Institute in Vancouver, BC, Canada will be pushed to 2021. Once again, thank you for your continued support.

Learn more on the website

Five Good Ideas About Advancing Racial Justice

Intolerance is growing around the world and Canada is not immune. All too often, we see and hear of the economic and social impacts of racism and inequality on Indigenous Peoples and racialized groups, particularly women, in education, housing, justice, and employment. How can individuals, groups and organizations work together to address this trend and bring about change? In this session, Avvy Go and Debbie Douglas will present five good ideas on how to develop and evaluate the needed policies, programs, and other practices that can address anti-racism and advance racial justice.

Sign up for this livestream!

Learn what content marketing and the fifth co-operative principle have in common (and how to leverage it)

Content marketing is a strategic marketing process focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, and ultimately, to drive conversions. It’s all about your audience, what they value, and how you can help educate them. When done correctly, this helps create a relationship with your audience, which leads to trust. And if your audience trusts you, they're more willing to cooperate with you.

MTJ (Michael T. Jackson) is an experienced project strategist with a demonstrated history developing systems through brand, product and process development.  He is the Strategic Communications Consultant at U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) as well as the Principal for eCommerce - SEO - Inbound - Brand Management with 

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Co-operation and the Preston Model: Beyond ‘Urban Regeneration’

SMU LogosThis presentation will briefly trace the origins and development of what has come to be known as the ‘Preston Model’, how and why it emerged and what might make it distinct from other ‘urban regeneration’ schemes. Although the Model includes the development of actual co-operative businesses, it is a pan socio-economic approach to community, business and society that is based on participation and desire for contribution and change above a narrow pursuit of creating wealth for its own sake. It is as much about co-operation as co-operatives. The presentation will discuss the various strands of the model and the political, social and ideological roots that uphold it, as well as the networked contributions from a range of stakeholders across the city, especially so-called ‘anchor institutions’. We will also be examining the interlocking roles of the local council and the university and future plans, including a co-operative community bank and a Co-operative University. The Preston Model is not a utopia and neither is it a finished ‘model’. Rather, it is work in progress, and the presentation seeks to consider the difficulties as well as the successes. Above all, it is a Model of intangibles such as affect, hope, enthusiasm, participation, pride and determination. Along with those qualities also come failure, disappointment, sorrow and frustration. The Preston Model shows what can be done in a move towards a new socio-economic paradigm that moves towards a post-growth society, the joy and the fear.

Dr Julian Manley is Social Innovation Manager at the Centre for SME Development, University of Central Lancashire in Preston. He was founding member and Chair of the Preston Co-operative Development Network from 2017-2020. He is a member of the Labour Party’s Community Wealth Building Unit, and a member of the Interim Academic Board of the Co-operative University. 

Register for this webinar today! 

Break Free from Our Systems Prison – A Human Centred Way of Thinking About and Managing Co-operatives

SMU LogosPractitioners know that standard management techniques don’t work very well in co-operatives, especially in flat hierarchy, high participation co-ops.  And when that standard tool doesn’t do what we were led to believe it would do, how often do we blame ourselves and even the co-operative model itself?

But perhaps orthodox management theory, including much that underlies co-operative management, is fundamentally inappropriate for our use. 

In this webinar we will discuss the ideology of systems theory which lies at the heart of most orthodox management thinking (an ideology which may be more about control and reinforcing hierarchy than the best option for co-operative governance and business management). 

Bob will be introducing a little known, but very exciting, alternative way of thinking about organisations, based on the communication and relationship processes of the humans involved, from the work of Ralph D Stacey and his colleagues at the University of Hertfordshire Business School, UK. 

Participants will consider if management thinking based on human communicating and relating processes -Complex Responsive Processes of Relating- could be a more effective way of managing co-operatives.

About the speaker: Bob Cannell has spent his working life helping manage and support worker owned co-operatives in the UK. He was the personnel officer for Suma ( during the twenty years when the worker co-op grew to be one of the largest businesses in its locality and a wealth generating machine for its workers and their communities. As a co-operative development worker, Bob has advised many UK worker co-ops, co-authoring the Co-ops UK Code of Governance for Worker Co-operatives, and was the UK representative for the International Co-operative Alliance worker co-op sector organisation - CICOPA, and vice-chair of the European region, CECOP.  He is an ecology graduate and political economy post-grad, which he credits for his analytical and independent approach to management and organisational thinking.

Register for this webinar now!


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