A cooperative is a business venture owned and run by and for its members. Whether they are the customers, employees or residents they have an equal say in what the business does and a share in the profits.
An example would be a credit union owned by its account holders, or an apartment complex owned by its tenants.
Mises noted that "For many decades, they have been thriving very well under the benevolent assistance granted to them by the authorities. But there is no record of any important innovation which owes its introduction to the cooperatives. While private business, overburdened by taxes from which the cooperatives are exempt, improves, year by year, the quality and increases the quantity of products and fills the markets with new articles unheard of before, the cooperatives are sterile."