This newsletter is a newsletter for and about the cooperative community.  Manitoba Cooperative Association publishes monthly.  If you have any story ideas or something you think the community should know, please feel free to email us at




Fond farewell

We would like to take a moment to recognize all the hard work and accomplishments of our colleague and friend, Erwan Bouchaud, Project Manager for the Manitoba Cooperative Community Strategy.  

Over the past several years, the Strategy has been responsible for some incredible initiatives including the development of the Cooperative Development Tax Credit Fund.  The leadership provided by Erwan was critical to our success but unfortunately, now that the Strategy is being restructured, the Project Manager position will cease to exist.  

Erwan's final date will be March 31 and we wish him all the success in the world as he embarks on his next adventure.


  Free screening of A New Economy

Please join us:

Wednesday, March 29
7:00 p.m.
Franco-Manitoban Cultural Center

as we, along with our friends at the Economic Development Council for Bilingual Municipalities (CDEM), the Canadian CED Network (CCEDNet) and Canada's Emerging Cooperators (CEC) present a free screening of A New Economy, a film that explores what the world would look like if we were able to build the foundation of a cooperative world.

After the screening, a panel representing a diverse cross section of cooperatives in Manitoba will be talking about their own co-ops and answering your questions.

Please feel free to download our poster, post it, share it with your friends and colleagues and join our Facebook page to help promote this exciting event. 


Cooperative Development Tax Credit Fund open for contributions

The importance of the Cooperative Development Tax Credit Fund cannot be understated.  In this time of economic uncertainty, the fund is accomplishing amazing things using Manitoba cooperative dollars and an impressive Manitoba tax credit to leverage even more dollars to help new coops get started.

Did you know that since 2010 when the fund started, 37 new cooperatives have incorporated and that more than half of them were incorporated with the help of our Co-op Development Advisor.  This assistance has been invaluable in providing advice, support and guidance.  We would like to share the words of one co-op that received advice and support to develop their cooperative, the Artisan Inspired Marketing Cooperative:

"MCA made the incorporation / cooperative structure as simple as possible.  They provided a step by step system with all the questions answered by an assigned Cooperative Development Advisor ... We feel strongly that A.I.M.C. would not have existed without the assistance from Manitoba Cooperative Association and the help of our Cooperative Development Advisor.

A.I.M.C. wish to be a major influence and assistance on the current and future of Artists / Artisans.  MCA was a big reason for our position of success today.

This fund was designed and implemented with the help of the MCA board whose delegates represent co-ops in almost each and every sector of the co-op community.  It was designed so that ANY co-op, large or small, even non-profit, can contribute to the fund, helping other co-ops and earning a significant tax credit.  In fact, your contribution of $1,000 costs your co-op $250 yet leverages $1,000 of valuable funding to help the co-op community to continue to grow and thrive.

We would like to give a big shout out to all our 2016 contributors.  Without their financial support, we would not be able to provide the help that we do.  Please don't hesitate to contact us if you'd like some more information about the fund and how you too can help our Manitoba cooperative community.


2017 Cooperative Youth Leadership Retreat information now available

The 2017 Cooperative Youth Leadership Retreat is around the corner and we are already registering youth! Posters, brochures and sponsorship forms have been mailed out to high schools, co-ops and credit unions all over the province. Keep your eyes peeled and spread the word!

The retreat will be held this year from May 4-7th at the Riding Mountain Conference Centre. If you know of any youth age 15-18 that are up for the challenge, send them our way. Information can also be found on our website.

The retreat is 3 ½  days of leadership activities, exploring challenging world issues, and learning about how co-ops are strengthening the local and global community.

To provide this life enriching experience, participants are required to find sponsorship for the cost of camp from local co-ops and credit unions. Sponsoring a youth is a great way to engage young people within your co-op and supports the development of the future leaders of the cooperative world. After the camp you can involve the youth within your co-ops or credit unions by inviting them to present to your board, have them tour your co-op or match them with a summer job!

New this year we are chartering a bus to bring participants to and from camp. The bus will leave Winnipeg and make pick up stops in Portage la Prairie and Neepawa. Spots are limited so have participants apply early.  

The retreat is a fantastic experience year after year, but don’t take our word for it. Below are comments from last year’s participants when asked about what they learned:
My greatest asset gained is my new and improved leadership skills and just having a lot more life skills and a new perspective
I'd definitely say teamwork. I worked together with people I hardly knew and was successful (most of the time)
I learned that we have to work with other people cooperatively and we need to respect everyone”.
For more information about the retreat, check out our website or send Jesse an email at



5 mistakes to avoid when starting a business

Recently I came across this great article in a newsletter from Entrepreneurship Manitoba and thought it was really great information for anybody looking to start a business (including co-ops) and I wanted to share it.

Starting your own business is a rewarding experience and one full of challenges. From start-up marketing and promotion strategy-building, to keeping your new customers happy and loyal and staying on top of your financial and regulatory requirements – juggling everything can keep you on your toes 24/7.
But while every business start-up is unique, there are common mistakes that you will want to avoid:
  1. Skipping the business plan. Many entrepreneurs think the only purpose for writing a business plan is to get financing.  Guess again! It will help you carefully consider your goals, potential customers and competitors, cash flow needs and the possible roadblocks ahead. It is your plan and your road map to success!
  2. Lack of working capital. Some of the best business ideas fail because of a lack of money to get through the first year in business.  What happens if sales come in slower than expected? If it takes longer for a customer to pay you? If expenses are higher than anticipated? What if forces out of your control, such as the weather or the economy cause a down turn in your business before you’ve built up an emergency fund?  Many entrepreneurs empty their wallets to launch their business and don’t have a backup plan in case cash gets tight.
  3. Not registering the business. Before you hand out business cards, you should register your business with the Manitoba Companies Office (if you're a co-op, you need to register with the Financial Institutions Regulations Branch) to make sure that the name is available and acceptable for your use. Doing a search on Google to see if a business name is being used just isn’t enough. 
  4. Signing a commercial lease without crossing your “t’s” and dotting your “i’s”. You found the perfect location for your business and you’ve been told that if you don’t scoop it up fast, it will be gone. STOP. Consider all implications before you sign and commit to commercial lease agreement. 
  5. Not tax planning. Sales are starting to come in and there’s money in the bank account. Your first year is over and you think, ‘maybe I’ll take a winter vacation this year’. Then you get your tax bill and your jaw drops. Tax planning with your accountant can help you prepare for tax time, and maximize possible opportunities to save no matter your business structure is.


Entrepreneurship Manitoba is offering a three day business planning workshop from March 28 to March 30.  Attend this three-day workshop to learn how to start and operate a small business in Manitoba, including:
  • Register or incorporate your business
  • Identify the legal requirements of a small business for licences, permits, other regulations
  • Develop a marketing strategy to attract customers and keep them
  • Develop a business plan that will meet lender/investor expectations
  • Access loans, grants and subsidies to finance your business 
  • Send in GST and PST collections, payroll remittances and income taxes
  • Do your monthly accounting, including an introduction to financial statements
  • Deduct business expenses for tax purposes
Please note that the legal incorporation process and reporting requirements are different for cooperatives BUT the good news is that we here at MCA can help you out with that part!

The workshop fee is only $75 + GST for all three days.  Click here for registration information.


Save the date

CCEDNet is offering two workshops in Social Finance this month.  On March 24 from 12 pm to 1 pm they will be offering a Lunch n' Learn on Social Impact Bonds 101.

Then on March 28 from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm, a workshop on Social Finance 101 be offered.

You can check out these workshops here.
The Urban Indigenous Theatre’s Storytellers Collective invites your organization, clients, associates, neighbours, friends and family to CommonStories, an open opportunity to share and listen to traditional and contemporary stories and engage with other community members.
CommonStories is open to all kinds of artistic mediums. Improvisation, written word, poetry, free form, painting, sculpture, craft, song or dance are just some examples of ways to be heard. Conceived in the tradition of Indigenous storytelling the Collective welcomes all community members to join them and share stories. A non-judgmental, family friendly and alcohol-free environment is provided to ensure the best experience possible for all.

Neechi Commons (2nd floor)
865 Main Street, Winnipeg

Second Sunday of each month from 2 - 4 pm
(March 12, April 9, May 14, June 11, July 9) 
Click here to view the poster.
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