OCUF attended ON Co-op’s Annual General Meeting yesterday in Milton. It was interesting to hear how much On Co-op has on the go. A big initiative is their work building government relations. Like many AGM’s there was the election to the Board of Directors, a by-law amendment and review of the auditor’s report. All good stuff, but what was most interesting came after the “business” component.

Denyse Guy from Co-operatives & Mutuals Canada updated the group on some initiatives. She reminded everyone that Co-op Week was October 16-22. She then introduced two CCA Interns to present. It was very interesting to hear Jonea Agwa speak of her efforts in Kenya. It certainly puts our lifestyle in perspective as to just how fortunate we are to live in Canada. Her story was captivating as she built up to her motto “No one has a monopoly on knowledge.”

The second presenter, Jannat Nain talked about her experience intern in with the Co-operative Association in Mongolia. I had no idea co-operatives have been around for almost 100 years in that country. Jannat detailed her engagement as a marketing and project management lead. Her last slide was a great one, “May your fortunes flourish forever.”

Create a Co-op ChallengeThis was followed by three presentations from the finalists in the “Create a Co-op Challenge” organized by All4Each’s coordinator Adam Malloy and sponsored by Gay Lea Foods. Three groups presented their ideas. The first, Farhad talked about his concept for a co-operative community sports concept that was all inclusive called Sportica.

The next two, Sabrina and Nicholas impressed me by presenting for ten minutes without reference to any notes. Talk about a well-rehearsed presentation. Their concept was to create an online site for students to sell their wares to help fund their post-secondary education.

Create a Co-op ChallengeThe third presenters, Jameel and Farzam spoke to their co-operative idea called Vesti Apparel. “Dressing graciously – affordably” was their concept to provide clothing for young adults, be it for prom or an employment interview.

A first prize was awarded to Vesti Apparel of $1,000 to help them seed their project, the two runner-up presenters each received $500.

The concept of co-operatives as an alternative business model was clearly leveraged by these students. Kudos to On Co-op and all who contributed to this programs success.

Create a Co-op Challenge