Co-operative development, as an activity, has multiple players and pieces. Co-operative developers are people who provide expertise to groups looking to form a co-operative. There can be several cooperative developers, all with different capabilities and training, working at different times with a growing, developing, or operating co-op.
Robust co-operative development in rural and Aboriginal communities requires strong support from the community in which the co-op is being developed. There has to be a reason to develop a co-operative enterprise; there also must be initiative, leadership, drive, and community support.
The goal of co-operative development is to build co-operatives that start strong and become resilient, functioning enterprises that work to solve members’ needs. This chapter provides some insight into what it takes to build and grow strong co-operatives. It is not comprehensive; cooperative development is a broad term that encompasses a multitude of activities. The text below offers, instead, a close-up view of what is required for successful co-operative development, from the perspective of co-op developers who have wide backgrounds and varied experience working with groups to develop and grow co-ops in western Canada.
1. Co-operative Development
2. Co-operative Development with Aboriginal Communities
3. Co-operative Development in Western Canada
4. Co-operative Development Building Strong Co-operatives
5. Model of a Robust Co-operative Development Environment
Table of Contents
Introduction and Aims
What Is Co-operative Development?
Starts with Existing Co-ops
Commitment to Community-led Solutions
Strong Social Capacity
Vision and Identity
Commitment to Community
Project over Politics
Co-operatives That Thrive
Resilience, Proximity, and Energy
Co-operative Development Culture
Co-op Development Activities
Passive Co-operative Development
Active Co-operative Development