When the average Canadian hears the word co-operative or “co-op,” they may think of anything from mountain equipment, to housing, to, I would hope, dairy products. Co-ops bring key services and products to Canadians, benefitting entrepreneurs and communities along the way. Their democratic ideals mirror those of our own country and see shared profits reinvested into communities from coast to coast. Despite successes across all industries, there is one barrier that prevents co-ops from reaching their full potential: Canadians and the government don’t fully understand what they are or how they differ from other business models. This misunderstanding means inadequate support and missed innovation opportunities.