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Summary: WCG has always prided itself on being a member-driven cooperative. By focusing on WCG’s collective success with its members, we strive to show just how important and rewarding a cooperative can be. Read on to discover what it means to be a co-op, how we embody its values, and why it’s important to us to celebrate Co-op Week.
As the name implies, a cooperative is about people coming together to meet a common need. It is a democratically controlled, community-focused enterprise jointly owned by its members. A co-op can offer products or services that its community requires and can either be a non-profit organization or a for-profit enterprise.
To ensure that a cooperative is democratically controlled, a Board of Directors is voted upon by a cooperative’s members. This is done to create a leadership team that represents the values of shareholders, or in this case, members.
A co-op is community-focused as it provides products and services that fill the needs of its members and the community in which it operates. A cooperative also creates jobs for local communities. And since a co-op is technically owned by its members, the profits generated are distributed to its members based on a multitude of factors. With these economic activities, co-operatives keep money circulating within the local economy to help build healthy and sustainable communities.
Founded as a local cooperative in Manitoba back in 1977, WCG has been in service of its communities for 46 years. In that time, WCG has provided jobs and telecommunication services to community members in the Westman area. Having started as a cable television provider to Brandon households, WCG has evolved and expanded to offer High-Speed Internet, Digital HD TV and Home Phone services. WCG has made it clear that providing services to smaller and underserved communities around the province is a key focus, as it has expanded to 63 communities.
The company is guided by the same principles that all co-operatives adhere to. The seven core co-op principles have been lined up in one of our previous blogs, which can be found here. And if you read through these principles, you can see two core differences between co-operatives and non-co-operative companies: A co-op is owned by its members (as opposed to non-co-ops owned by a few investors or shareholders). Co-ops have special attention, focus and a mission to serve and develop the communities they operate in.
Westman Communications Group lives up to these by managing its operations and programs. The following are some of the key policies and initiatives that the company ahderes to in order to maintain its cooperative identity:
WCG is owned by its members. As such, its members own an equity share of the company. This equity, the money they pay to use the company’s services, is not only invested back to its operations to further improve the services it provides its members but is also grown and given back to the members in the form of dividends! As we say, it pays (both literally and figuratively) to be a WCG Group co-op member! You can learn more about how this works and how to be a member here.
We purposefully reach out to and expand into rural and often underserved communities with our service offerings. Coming from its humble beginnings, WCG has reached 63 communities across Manitoba and has worked as hard as ever to expand its service offerings and positively impact more communities needing better access to these services. To learn more about WCG services, please click here.
As part of its efforts to positively impact its communities, WCG consistently gives back and supports local initiatives that are important to these communities. Programs such as the WCG Technology Scholarship, the #ConnectingWestman Tour and the #ConnectingWestman Funding Program are just a few of the institutionalized initiatives for the company to give back. You can learn more about WCG’s latest initiatives on our website’s Media Room.
The more we expand our services and footprint across Manitoba and stay true to our co-operative DNA, the more we can help your community thrive.
This year’s Co-op Week is on October 15 to 21. Co-operatives such as Westman Communications Group are a significant part of our everyday lives and contribute greatly to the local, national and even global economy.
Westman Communications Group celebrates with you the successes that a co-op can, and will, bring to your community and the spirit of cooperation which will drive us to a better future. This year, we are focusing on cooperating on climate action, an issue important to both you and WCG. Check out our social media pages to find out everything we did for this year’s Co-op week.