A start-up co-op needs two things: an idea, and people committed to the idea. Sometimes the people already know each other and come up with the idea together. Other times, the people don’t know each other, and come up with the idea independently.

This page is for people in the second group: people with an idea who are looking to connect with others who have ideas that are similar or compatible. In some cases, the ideas don’t have anyone following up on them … yet!

Please read through this list and see if one of them sounds exciting. If it does, get in touch to be connected with others already working on it. Or you are welcome to write in with your own idea! We’ll add it to this page.

Check out our events page for our occasional meetups to discuss cooperative ideas and meet other people interested in your idea!

Here are some ideas that people have been kicking around. They’re good business ideas and also ideas that will make working in these fields better for those working in it.

Home health care – People working in home health care have trouble making ends meet, while the company owner may be doing quite well. One of the largest cooperatives in the nation is Home Care Associates in Philadelphia, and even larger is Cooperative Home Care Associates of New York. Why not here?

Cleaning services – Same reasons as above. There are cleaning and maintenance worker cooperatives in other cities, like the Damayan Workers Cooperative and Up and Go in New York. Why not here?

Digital media services – No, co-working, where so many digital companies are these days, is not a cooperative, so why not take the next step and co-own, co-run, and co-love your work? There’s one in Boulder called Dojo4, and even a mostly virtual one called Palante. Let’s do it here!

Venture cooperativism – in software, innovative hardware, community based business, or real estate.
Delivery services – Why should Über and VendSpin have all the fun, and their investors get almost all of the cash? We can do this!

Child care – High quality child care is in demand everywhere, and a cooperative can make it more affordable without sacrificing quality and convenience, and also see that caregivers and other staff are better paid. Members of cooperatives earn 12-15% more than in a conventional business in their field. Check out a non-profit, parent-owned one and a for-profit, worker-owned one. It’s been done here before; why not again?

A cooperative school – Keep learning, or enrich your children’s or important young people’s education, from energy and art to sustainability and permaculture.

Temp staffing – These firms, like so many others in the services industries, don’t usually afford a better living for their workers. Being an owner goes a looong way to solving that problem!


What ideas do you have? Would you like to gather a group of people to explore getting one started? We can help!