A non-hierarchical business rooted in shared ownership, democratic governance, cooperative principles, and meeting the needs of the community. There are worker-owner, producer, consumer, and hybrid membership models of cooperatively owned businesses.

Circular Economy

A regenerative model that prevents waste through sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products.


Greek derivative
DEM = people, CRACY = rule by
Democracy = Ruled by the people

Food Cooperative

Collectively owned grocery store in which the members decide on the cost and product assortment ensuring it is ethical, affordable, and meets the needs of the community.

Gift Economy

Relies on relationships and giving something, whether it be goods or services, in the name of these relationships rather than for profit or personal gain. Visit Service Space for inspiration and ways to get involved with the gift economy.

Gig Economy

Independent contractor hired for a short term project or a certain amount of hours and paid per task completed such as Deliveroo, Grub Hub, and Lyft.

Intentional Community

A group of people who have chosen to live amongst each other and share resources on the basis of common values. Communes, eco-villages, co-housing and student cooperatives are some examples of intentional communities. Visit Foundation for Intentional Community to find a map of intentional communities around the world.


Building knowledge and skills through interaction between people who have a shared purpose and/or business model. This is really helpful for start up mutual aid initiatives and cooperatives to learn from others that have gone through similar processes. Be open to reaching out to models that you admire locally or abroad to help guide you along the startup journey

Platform Cooperative

Digital platform (website or app) used to sell a product or provide a service that is collectively owned and governed by the people who depend on and participate in it. Read an Introduction to Platform Cooperativism by Trebor Scholz.

Open Source

Open source is free to use and adapt, without requiring a licence fee. Platform cooperatives generally utilize an open source software source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance. Creative Commons is an awesome resource to freely obtain resources such as music, images, vidoes, education, and scientific research.

Worker Cooperative

Value driven, worker owned business that utilizes democratic governance. One worker, one vote.

Sharing Economy

Peer-to-peer based activity of acquiring, providing, or sharing access to goods and services that is often facilitated by an internet platform such as Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, and Etsy. Learn about what's wrong with the sharing economy and how platform cooperativism can be used to fill the voids.

Social Enterprise

Cause-driven business whose primary reason for being is to improve social objectives and serve the common good.

Solidarity Economy

People and the planet are placed over profit while reinforcing the values of social justice, ecological sustainability, cooperation, non-hierarchy, and democracy.


An alternative currency system that lets people use time, instead of money, to pay for goods and services. People simply trade an hour of their time for an hour of someone else’s.

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