UWinnipeg selects first Chair in Co-Operative Enterprises

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An international scholar with extensive expertise in the co-operative movement has been selected by The University of Winnipeg to become Manitoba’s first Chair in Co-operative Enterprises, a position made possible through a collaborative partnership with the Manitoba government, the co-op sector and UWinnipeg. Dr. Claudia Sanchez Bajo holds a PhD in Development Studies from the prestigious International Institute of Social Studies (Erasmus University, The Hague) and has worked with co-operatives in Germany, Italy, China, Spain and Costa Rica. She is most recently based in Belgium researching co-operatives and their role in financial crises and has been teaching a Masters-level module for the University of Pavia (Italy).

Running a co-operative venture requires a unique knowledge base and skill set and is a growing part of the economy. There are more than 350 co-ops in Manitoba serving 800,000 members in all facets of life from grocery stores to financial services.

“This is our first industry-supported position in the Faculty of Business and Economics and is a model of how we can create relevant opportunities for students through new, collaborative partnerships,” said Dr. Lloyd Axwothy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg.   “Dr. Sanchez Bajo brings with her a global perspective that will help grow our partnerships within the cooperative community, and provide our students with summer internships and real world business experience.”

Dr. Sanchez Bajo will teach management of co-operatives, not-for-profit management, business ownership, ethics and social responsibility. She will also develop new courses in co-operative enterprises in consultation with the faculty and the co-operative sector toward a concentration in the area.

“This is an exciting project: raising the profile, understanding and visibility of co-operatives, by broadening the scope of business and management curricula, learning activities and research on co-ops and similar enterprises in partnership with Manitoba’s credit unions and co-operative movement,” said Dr. Sanchez Bajo.

Co-ops are unique in that they are mandated to serve members’ needs, distribute profits to members, and adhere to a democratic decision-making process. Business students educated in traditional programs are often underexposed to alternative models of business.

“The Faculty of Business & Economics is very pleased to welcome Dr. Sanchez Bajo as part of our team,” said Dr. Sylvie Albert, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics. “A star in her field, she will bring new ideas and an extensive international network to the university. Her collaborative spirit will be well appreciated by everyone and we are very excited to develop a new niche area with the co-op sector.”

Dr. Sanchez Bajo will assume her position at UWinnipeg on 1 August 2013.

BACKGROUND

The University of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Business and Economics has created a position unique in Canada and a first in Manitoba: the Chair in Co-operative Enterprises is aimed at strengthening the co-op movement and developing socially responsible entrepreneurs. The Chair position is possible because of donations totaling $625,000 by a collaborative partnership with the Manitoba government, the co-op sector and UWinnipeg:

  • Province of Manitoba $250,000
  • Federated Co-operatives Limited $100,000
  • The Co-operators Group $100,000
  • Credit Union Central of Manitoba Limited $100,000
  • Assiniboine Credit Union Limited $25,000
  • Arctic Cooperatives Limited $25,000
  • Red River Cooperative $25,000

These donations are part of UWinnipeg’s Future Fund, established in fall 2012, with a goal of raising $15 million to support and enhance academic innovation on campus.

SHORT BIO – DR. CLAUDIA SANCHEZ BAJO

Dr. Claudia Sanchez Bajo holds a PhD in Development Studies from the prestigious International Institute of Social Studies (Erasmus University, The Hague).  She is most recently based in Belgium researching co-operatives and their role in financial crises and has been teaching a Masters-level module for the University of Pavia (Italy).

Dr. Sanchez Bajo has substantial academic and industry-based experience with co-operatives in several countries, including Germany, Italy, China, Spain and Costa Rica.  In addition to direct experience working with co-operative groups in the areas of governance, business management and regulation, Dr. Sanchez Bajo has established herself internationally through publications, conferences and research activities as a foremost academic authority on these subjects.  Importantly, she has significant capabilities and interests that will allow for active and meaningful engagement with the Manitoba co-operative sector. She is multilingual, speaking English, French, Spanish, Portuguese Italian and is currently learning Chinese.

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MEDIA CONTACT

Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E: d.poulin@uwinnipeg.ca

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1 Comment

  • Karthikeyan said...

    Cooperative Greetings!
    It is wonderful to have such an eminent cooperator to serve the cooperative enterprise.

    Dr.M.Karthikeyan
    Associate Professor
    Dept of Cooperatives
    Institute of Cooperatives & Development Studies
    Ambo University
    P.O.Box-19, Ambo, ETHIOPIA
    Mob:+251-919345744