Spotlight Series

Conseil de la coopération de l’Ontario

Jonas Kobri – Director of Finance and Administration at the Conseil de la cooperation de l’Ontario

Q: Tell us about your business. What is your mission or purpose?
A: It was in 1964 that the Conseil de la coopération de l’Ontario (CCO) was created. Its mission is to contribute to the development of the social economy in the francophone community through cooperation. It achieves this mission by enabling cooperatives and social enterprises to consult, promote their interests and support their development. In Ontario, the CCO is the spokesperson for the francophone cooperative movement. After the departure of Luc Morin in February 2019, the CCO is led today by Julien Geremie. He is working hard in providing pragmatic solutions to the operational and strategic problems of the CCO. The goal is to reduce our dependence on public funding and to increase our visibility both in Ontario and internationally.

Q: Tell us about your Scale-up process. Why and how did you do it?
A: The CCO has a resource of talents and experts of all kinds. In our ranks we have a PhD, masters and top professionals, and we continue to expand our collective knowledge by expanding our team. We have grown our team from 8 to 14 permanent employees in the last few years. The CCO along with our partners have great pride in our expertise in community development, and cooperative and social enterprise development and management. Unlike previous years, we are no longer focused on the search for public subsidies. Today, the CCO is in the process of affirming its financial autonomy by seeking management contracts and sales of services.

Q: Do you have any tips or recommendations you would like to give to yourself as a developing company?
A: In my opinion, you must give yourself a set of principles that are likely to awaken you and to move forward. We must seek to be autonomous with equipping ourselves with operating guidelines. Since autonomy makes it possible to make a mark in what one does; it is source of originality. In addition, we better control what we do. Values like transparency, honesty and respect are important to me in the development of organizations. They constitute the premises of trust with partners, who the company relies on to be able to achieve its organizational objectives. It is also important to have the ability to meet the demands of customers, that is, to be prepared to formulate solutions to their problems. In my current work, I make sure that the relationship in the management contracts with the partners is strong and long-term.

Q: What is your professional or personal experience? Do you have previous experience in entrepreneurship?
A: I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration specializing in finance. I am also working on other complementary courses. This additional training allowed me to acquire deep theoretical knowledge in the field of accounting, finance, corporate taxation and organization management. For example, in the area of finance, I can say that I have acquired knowledge about investment decisions, management of working capital, choices of different sources of financing, the functioning of financial markets, portfolio management, asset valuation, etc. I also have knowledge of business law.

In the entrepreneurial field, I implemented the skills needed to run an organization. I have helped many start-up companies to grow economically. My theoretical business skills are mainly limited to management, marketing, public relations and customer service. Moreover, in my research, I worked a lot on business confidence and quality of service measures. I am therefore able to bring undeniable know-how in the management and implementation of any idea.

Q: Tell us a story or an interesting fact about your business?
A: All the changes we have been making are extremely exciting, and it’s great to have the opportunity to work with a bigger team with many new faces. We’re still adjusting how we organize our meetings and such to accommodate this new group size. We recently had our entire team together for a conference and we had to book three Airbnb’s to accommodate everyone, whereas beforehand we were able to stay in one or two houses. It has been a great experience.

Spotlight Series

Regional Food Distribution Association

RFDA (Regional Food Distribution Association), a Northern Ontario foodbanks association, was incorporated back in April 2008 and is based in Thunder Bay. We are a hub and distributor for other food banks and feeding programs for those in need.

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