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While more than 1 in 7 people are members of a co-operative world-wide, there is a general lack of awareness and understanding about co-operatives provincially, nationally and even globally. Despite their 170+ year history, co-operatives are not at the forefront of people's mindsets when it comes to doing business!

One of the key reasons is the co-operative model is not included nor taught as part of the school curriculum. As well, many governments do not officially recognize co-operative businesses as being of equal value or importance as traditional business enterprises. Misconceptions surrounding the business model also create some unique disadvantages. For starters, co-operatives are governed by a different set of rules and regulations that are much more complex and detailed than traditional forms of business. As well, the lack of awareness makes attracting investors to a new co-operative business venture tricky. The lack of understanding around co-ops also means that the model is sometimes applied where it shouldn't be, and at other times, groups do not take advantage of its full benefits and possibilities.

OCA is breaking down these barriers and misconceptions by educating youth, the general public and government on the benefits of co-operativism and the unique challenges we face as a sector. Learn more about co-operatives by visiting the links below!