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Press release from CNW Group

Finalists chosen in the National Co-op Challenge

Monday, October 22, 2012

Finalists chosen in the National Co-op Challenge10:00 EDT Monday, October 22, 2012Public voting now openGUELPH, ON, Oct. 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Public voting begins today for The Co-operators National Co-op Challenge, a social media-based contest celebrating 2012, The International Year of Co-operatives. Twenty-four emerging co-ops, six from each of four regions across Canada, have been chosen as finalists and are now vying for their share of $220,000 in prize money.The Co-operators created the contest to profile and support small and expanding Canadian co-ops during the International Year of Co-operatives. Eligible co-operatives were encouraged to apply for a chance to win prize money to expand their business. Applications from co-ops across the country were reviewed and the finalists have each produced a short video making their pitch. It's now up to Canadians to choose their favourites via The Co-operators Facebook page. Anyone with a Facebook account can vote until November 21 at 5:00 PM EST."As a co-operative, our principles include a commitment to strengthening the co-op sector. We created the National Co-op Challenge as a novel new way of living up to the principle this year," said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "I wish the 24 finalists the best of luck and encourage Canadians, in the International Year of Co-operatives, to take full advantage of this opportunity and cast a vote."The top three co-ops in each region will receive prizes of $30,000, $15,000 and $10,000 from The Co-operators to help grow their organization. The Grand Prize winner will be randomly drawn from among the four regional winners, and will receive further resources and consultation to help promote and continue developing their co-op.To view the submissions and to vote for your favourite finalist, please visit The Co-operators Facebook page. Please see attached backgrounder for a full listing of the 24 finalists.About The Co-operators:The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $36 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada and Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. As a proud member and supporter of the co-operative sector, The Co-operators is pleased to celebrate 2012: The International Year of Co-operatives. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.BackgrounderBelow are The National Co-op Challenge finalists :Atlantic Region:Coopérative La Bikery Co-operative (Moncton, NB)Downtown Daycare Co-operative (Moncton, NB)Gulf Aquarium and Marine Station Cooperative (Cheticamp, NS)Lotus Co-operative Marketplace (Moncton, NB)Open Sky Co-operative (Sackville,NB)Sustainability Solutions Group (Tatamagouche, NS)Quebec Region:A Thousand and One Ways (Ste-Sophie)Coopérative de solidarité ECTO (Montreal)Coop Roue-Libre de l'Université Laval (Quebec City)La Coopérative bioéquitable de l'Outaouais (Gatineau)L'Esprit du Lieu, coopérative de travail (Val-David)Nettoieprêt, coopérative de travailleurs (Quebec City)Ontario Region:Common Ground Co-operative (Toronto)La Siembra Co-operative (Ottawa)Local Initiative for Future Energy Co-operative (Kitchener)West End Food Co-op (Toronto)Your Local Market Co-op (Stratford)ZooShare Biogas Co-operative (Toronto)West Region :Cooperative Communications (Edmonton, AB)Cortes Natural Food Co-op (Manson's Landing, BC)Cowichan Co-operative Connections Association (Duncan, BC)Good Food Junction Co-operative (Saskatoon, SK)Peg City Car Co-op (Winnipeg, MB)Shift Delivery Co-op (Vancouver, BC)SOURCE: The Co-operatorsFor further information: Leonard Sharman The Co-operators 519-767-3937