Co-Op Model

A co-operative is a legally incorporated business, owned and operated by and for members. Co-ops are businesses based on established international values and principles.


A co-operative is a legally incorporated business, owned and operated by and for members. Co-ops are businesses based on established international values and principles. 

Co-ops are a viable model for how people can collaborate to achieve common goals by pooling resources, decision making, risk and rewards. Whether they are customers, employees or producers, all members have the right to an equal say in the business and share in the profits. Each member is entitled to one vote, regardless of the number of shares they own. 

Incorporating a co-op requires the establishment of operating rules, membership structure and minimal financial commitment in the form of member shares.  Members elect a Board of Directors to provide direction, manage governance, establish goals and policies. 

For-profit co-ops may issue investor shares to members and non-members. These shareholders can vote on matters that affect the co-op’s financial viability. Each investment share entitles the holder to one vote. Up to 20% of a co-op Board may be investment shareholders.  

Co-ops come in many different shapes and have been adapted to work in all sectors. Even though they share many features, each co-op is unique, based on their membership, purpose and market conditions. Marketing and producer co-ops are the most common. 

Often confused with marketing co-ops, producer co-ops feature a group of people forming one business to produce and sell their goods together. In a marketing co-op, members may have their own businesses and sell all or some of their goods to, or through, the co-op.  By marketing together, members can get a better price and access larger markets.

Marketing co-ops may be involved with processing, assembling, packaging or other value-added activities. They also allow members to focus on producing goods or services instead of finding buyers. Marketing co-ops provide annual patronage returns to members based on sales volume and through a percentage of the co-op’s profits. 

Both these types of co-ops provide a collective venue for members to pool resources, knowledge and labor to collectively promote and sell their products. Both offer a variety of benefits to members including access to services such as book-keeping or insurance, or bulk purchases. Both can have investment shares and follow a similar path to incorporating.


CO-OP Values








CO-OP Principals

Open and voluntary membership 

Member democratic control 

Member economic participation

Autonomy and independence

Education, training, and information

Concern for community

Cooperation among co-operatives


Grow Tech Labs

Small and Medium-sized Producer and Processor (SMP) Accelerator Program

GTL established the Small and Medium-sized Producer and Processor (SMP) Accelerator Program in October 2018 to:

• maintain BC’s competitive advantage as an international cannabis leader
• provide BC SMPs with a safe, accessible alternative to the black market
• provide consumers in BC, across Canada and around the world access to authentic BC cannabis products the province is so well known for
• establish a business model for BC SMPs to foster collective innovation, achieve sustainable economies of scale and establish a retail network 
• create a platform for collaboration among SMPs that promotes a culture of quality, cooperation and corporate social responsibility
• achieve government goals related to public health, market diversity and black market
• foster collaboration with all levels of government, colleges, universities, financial institutions, business, innovation and community associations 
• build on early stage outreach by sector associations and government

Grow Tech Labs has established a working group of sector leaders and experienced co-op professionals to develop a provincial engagement plan, transparent governance structure and application to incorporate a BC Small Cannabis Producer and Processor Co-Op within the provincial Co-operative Association Act.

British Columbians are invited to participate by contacting the Co-Op Accelerator here. All communication is confidential. Participants will not be required to disclose their address or pay any fees to become involved in the co-op’s development phase.

For more information on Grow Tech Labs, click here.