Helping rural & Indigenous communities grow & thrive.


Capturing Opportunity. Creating growth.

Opportunities are often hidden in plain sight or disguised as deficits. Capturing an opportunity requires inspiration, recognition, innovation and the courage to see things a bit differently. 

At Co-operatives First, we support leaders looking to capture opportunities, inspire others and realize their visions. 

Why Co-operatives First?

A co-operative is a business and requires the same level of energy, skill and commitment as any other business. Starting and building a business can be complicated, confusing and frustrating. But we’re here to assist with that process.

Plus, we provide this service at no cost.

Our process



Inspiring opportunity.

Looking for inspiration? Our Inspire products are designed to help community leaders identify opportunities. If you’re hoping to encourage economic, business or community development, take a quick look at our Inspire products.



Exploring an opportunity.

Have a specific opportunity to explore? Explore this opportunity with us. Our Explore products are designed to tease out the best way to take advantage of the opportunity and map out the pathway to creating a new business or organization.




Creating a co-operative business.

Looking to incorporate a new business or organization? Getting past the bureaucratic tape and understanding the proper steps to take can be frustrating and intimidating. Our Create products focus on getting you up and running in a way that is best for you.



Helping your business thrive.

On the board or managing an existing co-operative? Our Thrive products offer a variety of tools and resources to help ensure your business continues to grow and thrive. 



Building your business.

Our Build products are designed specifically to support you as you develop and grow your new business or organization.. 



Co-operatives First means business.


Thoughts and success stories



A forward-thinking initiative

Thanks to the generosity, support and forward thinking of the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS) and Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL), Co-operatives First was launched in 2016.

Our goal is to initiate a new wave of co-operative business development across rural and Indigenous communities across western Canada.


Innovation based on research

Co-operatives First is based on research conducted with the help and support of rural and Indigenous communities across western Canada, funded by Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) and undertaken by a group of researchers from the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan