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Press release from CNW Group

Atlantic co-ops among winners as $220,000 awarded in The National Co-op Challenge

Monday, December 03, 2012

Atlantic co-ops among winners as $220,000 awarded in The National Co-op Challenge08:00 EST Monday, December 03, 2012GUELPH, ON, Dec. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - Three emerging co-ops in the Atlantic have each won a share of $220,000 in prize money in The National Co-op Challenge. The announcement was made today by The Co-operators, which created the contest in celebration of the International Year of Co-operatives. In accordance with co-operative principles, it empowered individual Canadians by giving them a voice in choosing the winners from among dozens of emerging co-ops, by voting via Facebook.Gulf Aquarium and Marine Station Co-operative of Cheticamp, Nova Scotia took 1st Prize in the Atlantic Region, while two Moncton co-ops, Lotus Co-operative Marketplace and Coopérative La Bikery Co-operative, finished in the second and third spots respectively, based on the number of votes received between October 22 and November 21.1st Prize: Gulf Aquarium and Marine Station Co-operative, Cheticamp, N.S. ($30,000)The GAMS co-operative was formed in 2007 to establish the Gulf Marine Centre to promote the sustainability of the Gulf of St. Lawrence through research, public education and community collaboration. The prize money will help fund the design of the project, which will include a marine aquarium, research facilities and conference space for a diverse group of stakeholders who share an interest in the sustainability of this important ecosystem.2nd Prize: Lotus Co-operative Marketplace, Moncton, N.B. ($15,000)Created by a group of local entrepreneurial women in southeast New Brunswick, Lotus Co-operative Marketplace is a venue for local producers and service providers to market to people interested in the buy-local movement, green economies, wellness, and the creative arts. The funding will help people who face barriers access its programs and services, to help them build more secure and satisfying lives for themselves.3rd Prize: Coopérative La Bikery Co-operative, Moncton, N.B. ($10,000)La Bikery is a community bicycle co-op created to promote bicycling in the Moncton area, by providing education on such things as bike repairs and cycling safety. Its plans for the future, including more workshops and training, and the creation of a bicycle recycling program, are one step closer to reality because of the prize money it has earned."The winners, and all of the contestants in The National Co-op Challenge, reflect the diversity, richness and spirit of the co-operative sector in Canada. As these emerging organizations demonstrate, the future of co-ops in this country is very bright indeed," said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "Co-ops provide members with a meaningful voice in directing their organizations, so it was only fitting that The National Co-op Challenge would give Canadians a say in choosing the winners. Thousands of people engaged with us through Facebook over the past couple of months, and we are proud of the legacy we've created as part of our celebration of the International Year of Co-operatives."Emerging co-ops from throughout Canada applied, and the 24 finalists produced 90-second videos introducing their co-ops and outlining their plans on how they would use the prize money. Voting was open to anyone with a Facebook page, from October 22 to November 21. For a full list of the winners from all four Regions, please visit The Co-operators Facebook page.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.SOURCE: The Co-operatorsFor further information: Leonard Sharman The Co-operators 519-767-3937