A co-operative is a business that is collectively owned, democratically run and often provides social benefits.

Co-operatives are businesses owned and controlled by their members, who can be customers, staff, suppliers, local residents or a combination of these stakeholders. Members have an equal say in how the business is run using the one member, one vote principle. Members choose what to do with profits, whether distributing among members, reinvesting in the business or the community.

A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. (Ref: Should my business be a co-operative )

Examples of successful co-operatives are:

  • The Ivy House, co-operatively run community pub based in South East London
  • Outlandish, a digital creative agency which is a workers co-operative, based in London
  • Suma, a wholefoods co-operative running for over 40 years in Halifax, West Yorkshire
  • Homes For Change, a housing co-operative in Hulme, Manchester
  • Choices4Doncaster, a co-operative consortium providing health and social care