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Business Services Co-operatives

A business services co-operative is a group of small business owners who have come together to increase the competiveness of their enterprises.

There has been a growing trend over the past two decades for Australian businesses to work together for mutual benefit.

Small businesses often lack the bargining power and resources of larger businesses, but they can bridge the gap by jointly undertaking ventures with like-minded businesses.

While interfirm collaboration can take many forms (franchises, joint ventures, business incubators), a number of Australian businesses have chosen the co-operative business structure to gain the benefits of a larger group.

The role of these co-operatives is to provide services to meet the needs of member businesses. Like an agricultural co-operative, a business services co-operative is regarded as an extension of the members' business and operates to provide benefits to businesses as users of the co-operative's services, not as investors.

Benefits of collaboration

Increased purchasing power through joint purchasing operations by which members obtain favourable trading terms and pricing, which increases their competiveness, particularily against larger businesses and imports.

Increased market penetration and product or service recognition through co-operative marketing arrangements, which increases their market share, particularily against larger competitors, and improves export marketing capacity.

Improved performance and efficiency through joint investment in equipment, services and technology, which would otherwise be beyond the resources of any one firm.

Access to research and development through joint research projects with major research institutions, which can open up new product markets.

Increased negotiating power with public and education sectors through industry associations, which can ensure the needs of particular small business sectors are considered in the design of public policy and training curriculum.

Activities of Australian business services co-operatives

Plumbers, florists, nurseries, liquor stores and travel agents use co-operatives to aggregate their purchasing power to obtain favourable trading terms and pricing, which increases their competitiveness, particularily against larger companies and imports.

Pharmacies, newsagents, furniture retailers, motel owners, fitness clubs and professional artists use co-operatives to increase market penetration and product and service recognition. Some of these co-operatives also purchase goods for sale by member businesses.

Independent film makers, doctors (GPs), architects and taxi owners also use co-operatives to share resources to improve the performance and efficiency of their businesses through joint investment in equipment, services and technology, which would otherwise be beyond any one firm.


  Business Support
  Buying Groups
  Shared Services
  Transport Services


Australian Industry Engineering and Manufacturing Network Co-operative Ltd
Beehive Industries Co-operative Ltd
Brewarrina Business Centre Co-operative Ltd
Community Praxis Co-operative Ltd
Community Work Society Co-operative Ltd
Design Co-operative Ltd
Engineering and Manufacturing Industry Co-operative Ltd
Ethical Advisers' Co-operative Ltd
HunterNet Co-operative Ltd
LOD Co-operative Haulage and Transport Ltd
Open Channel Co-operative Ltd
Resource Industry Network Co-operative Ltd
The Associated Newsagents Co-operative (SA) Ltd
The Australian Share Traders Co-operative Ltd
The Bower Re-Use and Repair Co-operative Ltd
The Queensland Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries Co-operative Ltd
Welcome Motor Inns Co-operative Ltd


Australian Beverage Enterprises Co-operative Society Ltd
Australian Travel Agents Co-operative Ltd
Builders Trading Co-operative Ltd
Camping World Australia Co-operative Ltd
Hairdressers Co-operative Ltd
Independent Liquor Group Co-operative Ltd
Independent Toy Specialists of Australia Co-operative Ltd
Liquor Barons Co-operative Ltd
Mower Specialists Association of Australia Co-operative Ltd
Plumbers Supplies Co-operative Ltd
Rapid Group Co-operative Ltd
Tasmanian Independent Retailers Co-operative Society Ltd
Tertiary Access Group Co-operative Ltd
TFP Co-operative Ltd
Victorian Indigenous Nurseries Co-operative Ltd
Wesbuilders Co-operative Ltd


Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Co-operative Ltd
Artery Co-operative Ltd
Corowa Arts Co-operative Ltd
Curious Art Co-operative Ltd
Daintree Marketing Co-operative Ltd
Designer Crafts Co-operative Society Ltd
Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd
Furniture One Co-op Ltd
Newcastle Markets Co-operative Ltd
Spiral Gallery Co-operative Ltd
The Inner City Clayworkers Gallery Co-operative Ltd
Tint King Australia Co-operative Ltd
Water Pro's Co-operative Ltd


ArchiTeam Co-operative Ltd
Sawtooth Architectural Workshop Co-operative Ltd
Co-operative development agencies
Co-operative Development Services Ltd
The Mercury Centre Co-operative Ltd
General Practice Medical Services
Australian Medical Co-operative Ltd
Bridges After Hours Co-operative Ltd
Diagnostic Medical Co-operative Ltd
Ipswich GP After Hours Clinic Co-operative Ltd
Sydney Medical Service Co-operative Ltd
Wollongong Medical Service Co-operative Ltd
Services to legal profession
Barristers Services Co-operative Ltd
Legal Service Bulletin Co-operative Ltd
Seven Wentworth Co-operative Ltd

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