Co-operatives First: Celebrating Milestones and Future Directions

//Co-operatives First: Celebrating Milestones and Future Directions

Co-operatives First: Celebrating Milestones and Future Directions

Audra Kruger

Audra Kruger, Executive Director

In this episode of Each For All: The Co-operative Connection, host Robin Puga dives deep into the world of co-operative development with two inspiring leaders from Co-operatives First. We are happy to welcome Audra Krueger, Executive Director, and Kyle White, Director of Education, who share their journey and insights on the impact of co-operatives in rural and Indigenous communities across western Canada. 

Conversation Highlights

  • Origins and Mission of Co-operatives First: Audra and Kyle discuss how Co-operatives First was founded in 2016 with funding from Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) and the Co-operative Retailing System. This special funding relationship allows Co-ops First to focus its full attention on the need for co-op development in rural and Indigenous communities, providing essential resources and support for new co-operative ventures.

  • Reaching the 100 Co-op Milestone: The team recently celebrated the incorporation of their 100th co-op, a significant achievement that highlights the growing interest and value of the co-operative model. Audra emphasizes, “Behind that 100 are 100 amazing stories of people coming together to solve problems and share the benefits.”

  • Impact on Communities: Co-operatives First has made a profound impact on various communities, helping to establish co-ops in sectors such as childcare, housing, and local economic development. Kyle shares, “Seeing these co-ops flourish and make a difference in their communities is incredibly rewarding.”

  • Kyle White medium shot

    Kyle White, Director of Education

    Future Directions: The organization aims to continue its work with a focus on creating more childcare co-ops and addressing housing needs. Audra says mentions the goal is to create 15 new childcare co-ops in the next two years, with the potential to double that number.

  • Advice for Aspiring Co-operators: Both Audra and Kyle stress the importance of having a dedicated and aligned group of people to start a co-op. Kyle advises, “You need people who are going to put in the time, the money, and the passion into a project. It’s not a short-term endeavour.”

To learn more about the incredible work of Co-operatives First and to hear the full interview, listen to the full episode above. If you are interested in reading the transcript, you can read it here

By |2024-06-30T13:42:22-07:00April 30th, 2024|Show|0 Comments

About the Author:

Host and executive producer Robin Puga has been with Each For All from its beginning in 2006. Robin studied at the British Columbia Institute of Co-operative Studies (BCICS) and is active in the co-op community. In addition to working in the technology sector he’s a founding member of the CanTrust worker co-op and previous board member of the BC Co-op Association.

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