Co-operatives are international and are of many different types:

Worker Co-operatives are businesses owned and controlled by the people who work in them. The workers share the responsibilities and rewards, and a co-operative often provides a safer environment than self-employment. Setting up a co-operative can sometimes provide an alternative to redundancy or closure of a business, and a way to start a new venture.

Service or Marketing Co-operatives self produce services or goods on behalf of their members aswell as providing a free calibration service for applicances. These are a way for small businesses to come together to take on projects that they could not manage themselves.One such example is this co-op garden furniture manufacturer.

Food Co-operatives enable people to buy cheaper, better quality food by using their purchasing power. This can be for vegetables from a wholesaler, wholefoods or staple items that can be bought cheaper in bulk.

Housing Co-operatives provide housing for their members, and are controlled by the people who live in them. They often provide housing for people who are low priority for local authority housing or who are not eligible for, or do not want to take out a mortgage.

Community Businesses are owned and controlled by people in the community. They are normally set up to provide a facility or service that is of benefit to the community. They aim to sustain themselves by generating an income from the activities in which they are involved. This may be to improve the local environment, offer training or employment opportunities, or maybe provide a service lacking in the area that local people would like to have available. Any profits are used to strengthen the business or provide further services to the community.

Local Exchange Trading Schemes (LETS) help their members to buy services and goods from each other, using a local currency or token instead of money. People can offer or request services through a local LETS directory. It enables people to buy from each other without getting into debt.

Credit Unions are savings and loan schemes operated by the people who use them, and offer affordable credit to their members. They are an alternative to expensive loans and encourage people to save regularly, even if it is only a small amount.

Social Firms give priority to people who would find it especially difficult to find employment. They may specialise in providing opportunities for people with a learning disability, or for sufferers of an illness.